New lanthanide complex shows promise for quantum computing and high-density hard disks

Scientists from the University of Ottawa have made a groundbreaking discovery in the field of molecular magnets. They have developed a unique method to create improved molecule-based magnets, specifically single-molecule magnets (SMMs). This remarkable achievement involves a two-coordinate lanthanide complex with intrinsic magnet-like properties. The implications of this discovery are immense, as it could lead to advancements in high-density hard disks, quantum computing, and the development of faster and more compact memory devices.

Lanthanide ions typically require numerous organic ligands to stabilize and fill their coordination sphere. However, through innovative ligand design and synthetic techniques, the researchers at the University of Ottawa have successfully isolated a rare two-coordinate species. Furthermore, they have demonstrated, for the first time ever, a significant energy level separation as predicted by theory. This synthetic accomplishment highlights the immense potential of these molecules.

The research was conducted at the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Ottawa, under the leadership of Professor Muralee Murugesu from the Faculty of Science. The collaboration involved Professor Akseli Mansikkamäki from the University of Oulu in Finland, as well as post-doctoral fellows Diogo A. Gálico and Alexandros A. Kitos, along with doctoral students Dylan Errulat and Katie L. M. Harriman.

Professor Murugesu expressed excitement about the results, stating that they confirmed theoretical predictions and provided a synthetic pathway for creating superior molecular magnets. These magnets have significant practical applications, such as enabling the development of smaller, faster memory devices and quantum computers. Their nanoscale size and unique quantum features, including quantum tunneling of magnetization and quantum coherence, make them highly valuable.

The team utilized equipment funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to measure the magnetic and luminescent properties of their complexes at extremely low temperatures below 10 Kelvin. These measurements revealed the complex electronic structure of the compounds. To validate their findings, they collaborated with Professor Mansikkamäki and performed computational studies at the University of Oulu, Finland.

Since 2007, the Murugesu Group at the University of Ottawa has focused on researching single molecule magnets (SMMs) capable of storing and processing information at the molecular level. These highly anticipated materials hold the potential to revolutionize electronics, making them faster, more efficient, and space-saving. Such advancements could lead to a new era of molecular electronics, transforming the way data is stored.

The groundbreaking study, titled “A trivalent 4f complex with two bis-silylamide ligands displaying slow magnetic relaxation,” was published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Chemistry.

Source: University of Ottawa

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