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Radical Solutions for Hysteresis in Single-Molecule Magnets

Objective

Single-molecule magnets (SMMs) display magnetic hysteresis that is molecular in origin, and these materials have huge potential to be developed as nano-scale devices. The big challenge is to create SMMs that function without the need for liquid-helium cooling.

This project will develop new SMMs that combine the strong magnetic anisotropy of lanthanide ions with a series of novel radical ligands. Our innovative SMMs will have controllable molecular and electronic structures, which will ultimately enable hysteresis at unprecedented temperatures.

Highly unusual di- and tri-metallic Ln-SMMs are proposed in which the metals are bridged by radicals with heavy Group 15 (phosphorus-bismuth) and Group 16 (sulphur-tellurium) donor atoms. Trimetallic SMMs will also be based on hexaazatriphenylene (HAT) radicals, and dimetallic SMMs will also be based on nindigo radicals, both of which are nitrogen-donor ligands.

The SMM field is dominated by systems with diamagnetic ligands. Our radical ligands have never been used in SMM studies: their diffuse unpaired spin provides a way of switching off the quantum tunnelling mechanisms that otherwise prevent hysteresis. We will exploit the rich electrochemistry of the target ligands: heavy p-block radicals have huge spin densities on the donor atoms; HAT radicals can have up to three unpaired electrons; reduced or oxidized nindigo radicals allow access to redox-switchable SMMs. In the HAT-bridged SMMs, the use of ligands with more than one unpaired electron is unprecedented. The heavy p-block ligands are themselves are novel.

The PI’s approach to SMMs has already established new directions in lanthanide chemistry and in molecular magnetism. He now proposes a new, radical approach to SMMs with potential to re-define the state of the art, and to extend the frontiers of a vibrant multi-disciplinary field. Achieving the aims will provide a major step towards using SMMs for applications at practical temperatures.

Call for proposal

ERC-2014-CoG
See other projects for this call

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX
Address
Sussex House Falmer
BN1 9RH Brighton
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 050 608,57

Beneficiaries (3)

THE UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 050 608,57
Address
Sussex House Falmer
BN1 9RH Brighton
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 17 153,75
Address
Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

Participation ended

United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 516 439,98
Address
Oxford Road
M13 9PL Manchester
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments