This is a research proposal of Dr Maria Gimenez for a Marie Curie Fellowship in the Carbon Nanomaterials group, University of Nottingham. Maria is a talented young inorganic chemist coming from a leading university in Spain, and who has a strong expertise in molecular magnetism, which will be invaluable for this research programme. During her stay in the Dr Khlobystov’s group she will learn unique experimental skills and methodology, which she will be able to transfer back to Spain. In this proposal transition metals chemistry will be applied for controlled assembly of fullerene dimers and magnetic quasi-1D chains inside carbon nanotubes, materials intended for nano-electronics and quantum information processing (QIP) applications. For example, individual endohedral fullerenes (such as N@C60) possess unique magnetic properties highly suitable for QIP applications. However, the assembly of multi-qubit systems by conventional methods of synthetic chemistry has proved to be extremely challenging. In this project we address this problem by applying the versatile and controllable chemistry of transition metals to fullerenes and nanotubes. The role of transition metals is twofold: (1) the metal centres are expected to provide efficient communication between electron spins in fullerene dimer architectures (two-qubit systems), and (2) the magnetic metal clusters are expected to serve as effective probes for the internal cavities of carbon nanotubes which can help to establish the mechanisms of the nanotube-electron spin interactions. The bonding of metal centres to carbon nanostructures is less disruptive than traditionally used covalent bonding. Therefore, transition metals are expected to have no detrimental effects on the intrinsic properties of fullerenes or nanotubes, but are anticipated to enhance the functional properties of these materials and to unlock their full potential for practical applications in electronic devices.
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