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Faster Data Storage Thanks to Molecular Magnets Containing Rare Earth Materials?

18 October 2016

Molecular magnets made from metal atoms and organic molecules could one day enable the development of storage media with greater capacity and faster, more energy-efficient information processors. Until now, rare earth metals were regarded as unsuitable for this purpose, as the electrons responsible for their magnetic properties are “hidden” in 4f orbits, which are difficult to access for studies or technical use.

Theoretical studies performed in Jülich now explain how strong organic molecules can modify the chemical environment around rare earth metals. As a result, orbits are able to form that unite characteristics of atomic and 5d+4f hybrid orbitals, and are more easily accessible for studies using e.g. scanning tunnelling microscope measurements, or in technical applications.

Caption: (left) Simulation of a scanning tunnelling microscope measurement and (right) isosurface of a total charge distribution of a molecular magnet on a copper surface.
Source: Forschungszentrum Jülich

Further information:

"Electrically accessing complex magnetism in rare earth atoms" , London Centre for Nanotechnology

Press release "New Method of Producing Nanomagnets for Information Technology“ of Forschungszentrums Jülich from 23.1.2013

Institute website "Quantum Theory of Materials" (PGI-1/IAS-1)


Dr. Nicolae Atodiresei, Quanten-Theorie der Materialien (PGI-1/IAS-1)
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Tel.: +49 2461 61-2859

Press contact:

Angela Wenzik, Science Journalist
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Tel. +49 2461 61-6048