Article abstract


Nature Chemistry 1, 310 - 315 (2009)
Published online: 14 June 2009 | doi:10.1038/nchem.249

Subject Category: Theoretical chemistry

Designer magnetic superatoms

J. Ulises Reveles1, Peneé A. Clayborne1, Arthur C. Reber1, Shiv N. Khanna1, Kalpataru Pradhan2, Prasenjit Sen2 & Mark R. Pederson3


The quantum states in metal clusters are grouped into bunches of close-lying eigenvalues, termed electronic shells, similar to those of atoms. Filling of the electronic shells with paired electrons results in local minima in energy to give stable species called magic clusters. This led to the realization that selected clusters mimic chemical properties of elemental atoms on the periodic table and can be classified as superatoms. So far the work on superatoms has focused on non-magnetic species. Here we propose a framework for magnetic superatoms by invoking systems that have both localized and delocalized electronic states, in which localized electrons stabilize magnetic moments and filled nearly-free electron shells lead to stable species. An isolated VCs8 and a ligated MnAu24(SH)18 are shown to be such magnetic superatoms. The magnetic superatoms' assemblies could be ideal for molecular electronic devices, as the coupling could be altered by charging or weak fields.

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  1. Department of Physics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23284, USA
  2. Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Chhatnag Road Jhunsi, Allahabad 211019, India
  3. Naval Research Laboratory, Center for Computational Materials Science, Washington DC 20375, USA

Correspondence to: Shiv N. Khanna1 e-mail: snkhanna@vcu.edu