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FP6

MAGMANET — Result In Brief

Project ID: 515767
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Italy

A leading role for Europe in novel magnetic materials

EU-funded researchers established the foundations for European excellence in the emerging field of molecular magnets. The seeds have borne fruit with technology directly relevant to novel data storage and quantum computing.
A leading role for Europe in novel magnetic materials
Molecule-based magnets are an emerging class of magnetic materials that demonstrate all the common magnetic phenomena – and then some. Transparency, low density, electrical insulation and even photoresponsiveness (response to light leading to usefulness in magneto-optic devices) are among the novel ones.

Given the push by the electronics industry for ever-smaller and lighter gadgets with interesting properties, molecular magnets could be the ultimate high-density miniature memory (data storage) device.

European researchers initiated the ‘Molecular approach to nanomagnets and multifunctional materials’ (Magmanet) project to develop a European Network of Excellence focused on the magnetic properties of molecule-based systems.

Investigators sought to bring together experts from multidisciplinary fields covering the range from theoretical and solid-state physics to synthetic chemistry. They wanted to develop a solid base from which Europe could build a leadership position in this emerging sector and so established the European Institute of Molecular Magnetism (EIMM).

In addition, they developed a virtual laboratory enabling long-distance access to world-class resources and promoting education and training in molecular magnets.

Scientifically, Magmanet produced numerous results of acclaim. They showed that clusters of four iron atoms could anchor active molecules to a gold surface, of direct import to read-write devices. They also developed a molecular system whose induced magnetisation depended on its previous history, opening the door to a new possibility for data storage. Finally, electrical manipulation of a metal oxide cluster containing rare earth ions enabled qubit (quantum bit) implementation for quantum computing.

Magmanet thus successfully laid the foundations for European excellence in the emerging field of molecular magnets. The multidisciplinary scientific team together with the EIMM and a virtual laboratory have already produced numerous results of immediate relevance to the next generation of magnetic devices. Exciting future applications include technology for information science, biomedicine and security systems.

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