Nav: Home

Largest molecular spin found close to a quantum phase transition

February 26, 2018

Nine scientists at Bielefeld University, the KIT, the University of Magdeburg, and the University di Modena e Reggio Emilia (Italy) were involved in the studies.

Every single electron possesses a quantum mechanical intrinsic angular momentum, also called spin. The new magnetic molecule modelled at Bielefeld University and synthesized at the KIT reveals a spin in its ground state that is as large as that of 120 electrons combined. This makes it the largest spin ever to be observed in a single molecule. Magnetic molecules are molecules containing magnetic ions such as iron or gadolinium. The name of the magnetic molecule synthesized and studied by the research team is abbreviated to "Fe10Gd10". It has the geometric structure of a torus similar to a life-saving ring.

"In the case of the new molecule, this is joined by an unexpected property that also permits completely different applications," says Jürgen Schnack. Scientists in the interdisciplinary research project namely also found a so called quantum phase transition that strongly influences the property of the molecule. In quantum phase transitions, substances change their behaviour fundamentally at so called quantum critical points. An example of a "classical" phase transition is that of water when it begins to boil as it passes a certain temperature. Quantum phase transitions occur at a temperature of absolute zero. In the newly synthesized Fe10Gd10 molecule, ten thousand states are degenerate at the critical point. That means they have the same energy. On this absolutely flat energy surface, one can switch between the individual states without using any energy. In such a situation, the thermodynamic quantity called entropy adopts giant values. "It's as if you were standing on top of a high pointed mountain," explains Annie Powell. "A small change to the external parameters, for example, to the pressure, suffices for it to immediately drop steeply." Therefore, future research will examine how external pressure can be used to lead the molecule Fe10Gd10 beyond the quantum critical point.

Jürgen Schnack has been studying magnetic molecules in international collaborations for about 20 years. The goal underlying the study of magnetic molecules is to construct them so that they will fit various purposes exactly, for example, as nano data memories or refrigerants.
-end-


Bielefeld University

Related Molecules Articles:

Discovery of periodic tables for molecules
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) develop tables similar to the periodic table of elements but for molecules.
New method for imaging biological molecules
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have, together with colleagues from Aalto University in Finland, developed a new method for creating images of molecules in cells or tissue samples.
How two water molecules dance together
Researchers have gained new insights into how water molecules interact.
Hand-knitted molecules
Molecules are usually formed in reaction vessels or laboratory flasks.
How molecules teeter in a laser field
When molecules interact with the oscillating field of a laser, an instantaneous, time-dependent dipole is induced.
Data storage using individual molecules
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled.
Small molecules come into focus
Many biologically important small molecules, like hormones and amino acids, are too small to be measured by conventional detection methods.
We now know how RNA molecules are organized in cells
With their new finding, Canadian scientists urge revision of decades-old dogma on protein synthesis
A new way to create molecules for drug development
Chemists at The Ohio State University have developed a new and improved way to generate molecules that can enable the design of new types of synthetic drugs.
How ions gather water molecules around them
Charged particles in aqueous solutions are always surrounded by a shell of water molecules.
More Molecules News and Molecules Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.