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MOLNANOMAS Résumé de rapport

Project ID: 267746
Financé au titre de: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Pays: Italy

Final Report Summary - MOLNANOMAS (Molecular Nanomagnets at Surfaces: Novel Phenomena for Spin-based Technologies)

The unlimited library of molecules combining different functionalities can lead to complex molecular properties suitable to obtain novel devices that can contribute to define new paradigms in information technology with significant advances in energy saving and miniaturization. Single molecule devices, in particular those embedding magnetic molecules, are not yet present in devices of our everyday life because of the difficulties in controlling them at the nanoscale: once these objects are transferred from the crystal or the solution to the new environment constituted by the metallic or semiconducting elements of the devices the chemical and electronic properties tend to be dramatically altered.
In this strongly interdisciplinary project we have faced this challenge developing novel methodologies to characterize, model and control the properties of magnetic molecules, in particular their magnetic anisotropy and magnetization dynamics. In some cases we have evidenced the necessity to critically revisit well assessed concepts, like the prevailing electrostatic origin of magnetic anisotropy in rare earth ions, or to consider neglected ingredients, like the finite lifetime of vibrational modes and their effect on the magnetization dynamics of molecules.
The project has opened new avenues for the research in this field, like the exploitation of the interplay of chirality, a property rather common among molecules, and magnetism. The observation of a giant magneto-chiral effect in molecular helices could help us to provide answers to fundamental questions, like the origin of the homochirality of the life on our planet. Moreover novel magneto-electric effects in these materials have been predicted, whose relevance for the control of the magnetic information is currently under investigation.
Magnetic molecules have been the target of our investigations and have been coupled with different materials, such as metallic and oxide surfaces, metal nanoparticles, etc., highlighting for instance either detrimental or positive effects induced by the interaction with the substrate. The possibility of controlling with the light the “state” of a monolayer of molecules assembled on a metal has also been demonstrated. The first spintronic device, an organic spin valve, embedding a monolayer of magnetic molecules has been realized using accessible wet-chemistry techniques. Magnetic molecules have also been tested as unconventional tools for the investigation of the structure of buried molecular films in devices.
A valuable outcome of the project is the enrichment of the human capital constituted by the PhD students and Post-docs that have participated to the project. Their enthusiasm, commitment and creativity have been crucial for its successful implementation. The MolNanoMaS research grant has given them the possibility to work at the frontier of current knowledge on hybrid organic-inorganic nanostructures. Most of them are currently carrying on their academic career in other countries transferring the acquired knowledge to an enlarged scientific community.

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