Nav: Home

Molecular memory can be used to increase the memory capacity of hard disks

October 18, 2018

Single-molecule magnets are molecules capable of remembering the direction of a magnetic field that has been applied to them over relatively long periods of time once the magnetic field is switched off. Thus, one can "write" information into molecules. Single-molecule magnets have potential applications, for example, as high-density digital storage media and as parts of microprocessors in quantum computers. Practical applications have, however, been greatly hindered by the fact that single-molecule magnets are operational only at extremely low temperatures. Their intrinsic memory properties often vanish if they are heated more than a few degrees above absolute zero (-273°C); therefore, single-molecule magnets can be only studied under laboratory conditions by cooling them with liquid helium.

More favorable conditions for technological applications

Researchers have now, for the first time, managed to synthesize and characterize a single-molecule magnet which retains its memory properties above the temperature of liquid helium (-196°C). The magnet can be called the first high-temperature single-molecule magnet.

- When considering our everyday life, liquid nitrogen is extremely cold. However, compared to liquid helium, which has so far been required to study single-molecule magnets, the liquid nitrogen temperature is a huge leap upwards. Liquid nitrogen is more than 300 times cheaper than liquid helium and much more readily available, enabling technological applications. Therefore, the research constitutes an important scientific milestone, describes postdoctoral researcher Akseli Mansikkamäki from the Department of Chemistry of the University of Jyväskylä.

New insights from computations

The new dysprosium metallocene compound is the culmination of several years of research. The project has required the development of new approaches in organometallic lanthanide chemistry and deep insights of the relationship between the microscopic electronic structure and magnetic properties of the studied systems.
  • Computational methods based on quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity play an important role in the characterization and design of new single-molecule magnets. The large computational resources available today have enabled, for example, to clarify the interaction between crystal vibrations and the electronic structure of molecules studied in the present work, Mansikkamäki explains.

The research also provides new insights and guidelines how to further improve the magnetic properties of single-molecule magnets and how to bring technological applications closer to reality.
The research project has been led by professor Richard Layfield at the University of Sussex, UK. The synthetic work and characterization of the prepared compounds was carried out at Layfield's research group and magnetic measurements were performed at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou , PRC under the leadership of professor Ming-Liang Tong. Postdoctoral researcher Akseli Mansikkamäki carried out theoretical calculations and analyses at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Jyväskylä. In Finland, the research has been financed by the Academy of Finland. Computational resources were provided by the CSC-IT Center for Science and the University of Jyväskylä.

The work has been published in the highly respected journal Science on 18.10.2018.

Further information:

University of Jyväskylä - Jyväskylän yliopisto

Related Magnetic Field Articles:

Scholes finds novel magnetic field effect in diamagnetic molecules
The Princeton University Department of Chemistry publishes research this week proving that an applied magnetic field will interact with the electronic structure of weakly magnetic, or diamagnetic, molecules to induce a magnetic-field effect that, to their knowledge, has never before been documented.
Origins of Earth's magnetic field remain a mystery
The existence of a magnetic field beyond 3.5 billion years ago is still up for debate.
New research provides evidence of strong early magnetic field around Earth
New research from the University of Rochester provides evidence that the magnetic field that first formed around Earth was even stronger than scientists previously believed.
Massive photons in an artificial magnetic field
An international research collaboration from Poland, the UK and Russia has created a two-dimensional system -- a thin optical cavity filled with liquid crystal -- in which they trapped photons.
Adhesive which debonds in magnetic field could reduce landfill waste
Researchers at the University of Sussex have developed a glue which can unstick when placed in a magnetic field, meaning products otherwise destined for landfill, could now be dismantled and recycled at the end of their life.
Earth's last magnetic field reversal took far longer than once thought
Every several hundred thousand years or so, Earth's magnetic field dramatically shifts and reverses its polarity.
A new rare metals alloy can change shape in the magnetic field
Scientists developed multifunctional metal alloys that emit and absorb heat at the same time and change their size and volume under the influence of a magnetic field.
Physicists studied the influence of magnetic field on thin film structures
A team of scientists from Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University together with their colleagues from Russia, Japan, and Australia studied the influence of inhomogeneity of magnetic field applied during the fabrication process of thin-film structures made from nickel-iron and iridium-manganese alloys, on their properties.
'Magnetic topological insulator' makes its own magnetic field
A team of U.S. and Korean physicists has found the first evidence of a two-dimensional material that can become a magnetic topological insulator even when it is not placed in a magnetic field.
Scientists develop a new way to remotely measure Earth's magnetic field
By zapping a layer of meteor residue in the atmosphere with ground-based lasers, scientists in the US, Canada and Europe get a new view of Earth's magnetic field.
More Magnetic Field News and Magnetic Field Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Flag and the Fury
How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained "officially" flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. This show is a collaboration with OSM Audio. Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy is here. And the Hospitality Flag webpage is here.