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New nanoscale bistable structures for high-tech devices

EU-funded scientists have successfully synthesised nanoscale coordination networks with physical properties that can shift between two stable states. Project results hold great promise for the development of innovative technology devices that exploit bistability such as memories, switches and sensors.
New nanoscale bistable structures for high-tech devices
Miniaturisation of coordination networks to the nanoscale represents a unique opportunity to create a new class of highly functional materials that combine the properties of coordination compounds and nanomaterials to create the best of both worlds.

Within the BINOS (Bistable nano-objects on surfaces) project, scientists focused on synthesising nanosystems of bistable molecular systems immobilised on nanolayers or nanoparticles and studying the physical properties of such nano-objects.

The team successfully grew a coordination network containing copper and molybdenum on different substrates, with focus on preserving magnetic properties in particle sizes less than 10 nm.

A major area of study was grafting of spin-crossover nanoparticles on a paper substrate. One notable characteristic of spin-crossover materials is that changes in the spin state of the coordination complex because of external stimuli are reversible. Another is that bistability can be kept down to the nanoscale. Such materials are attractive candidates for integration into a variety of micro/nanotechnologies.

Researchers proved that elastic properties can cause unusual spin crossover depending on particle size. In addition, they thoroughly studied mechanical properties of spin-crossover nanoparticles, as their motion can be exploited in mechanical actuator devices.

Other areas of study were the electrical properties of spin-crossover objects at the mesoscale and light-induced charge transport in spin-crossover micro-rods.

Use of bistable spin-crossover materials can greatly benefit computer data storage, switches, optical displays and actuator technology. All project results were presented at seven conferences.

Related information


Life Sciences


Nanoscale, bistable, coordination networks, BINOS, spin-crossover
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