Journal article

Uranium and manganese assembled in a wheel-shaped nanoscale single-molecule magnet with high spin-reversal barrier

Discrete molecular compounds that exhibit both magnetization hysteresis and slow magnetic relaxation below a characteristic 'blocking' temperature are known as single-molecule magnets. These are promising for applications including memory devices and quantum computing, but require higher spin-inversion barriers and hysteresis temperatures than currently achieved. After twenty years of research confined to the d- block transition metals, scientists are moving to the f-block to generate these properties. We have now prepared, by cation-promoted self-assembly, a large 5f-3d U 12 Mn 6 cluster that adopts a wheel topology and exhibits single-molecule magnet behaviour. This uranium-based molecular wheel shows an open magnetic hysteresis loop at low temperature, with a non-zero coercive field (below 4 K) and quantum tunnelling steps (below 2.5 K), which suggests that uranium might indeed provide a route to magnetic storage devices. This molecule also represents an interesting model for actinide nanoparticles occurring in the environment and in spent fuel separation cycles. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


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