Article abstract

Nature Materials 8, 813 - 817 (2009)
Published online: 30 August 2009 | doi:10.1038/nmat2525

Subject Categories: Molecular electronics | Magnetic materials | Nanoscale materials

Electrostatic spin crossover effect in polar magnetic molecules

Nadjib Baadji1, Manuel Piacenza2, Tugba Tugsuz2, Fabio Della Sala2, Giuseppe Maruccio2,3 & Stefano Sanvito1

The magnetic configuration of a nanostructure can be altered by an external magnetic field, by spin-transfer torque or by its magnetoelastic response. Here, we explore an alternative route, namely the possibility of switching the sign of the exchange coupling between two magnetic centres by means of an electric potential. This general effect, which we name electrostatic spin crossover, occurs in insulating molecules with super-exchange magnetic interaction and inversion symmetry breaking. As an example we present the case of a family of di-cobaltocene-based molecules. The critical fields for switching, calculated from first principles, are of the order of 1 V nm-1 and can be achieved in two-terminal devices. More crucially, such critical fields can be engineered with an appropriate choice of substituents to add to the basic di-cobaltocene unit. This suggests that an easy chemical strategy for achieving the synthesis of suitable molecules is possible.

  1. School of Physics and CRANN, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
  2. National Nanotechnology Laboratory of CNR-INFM, Distretto Tecnologico ISUFI, Università del Salento, Via per Arnesano, I-73100 Lecce, Italy
  3. Scuola Superiore ISUFI, Università del Salento, Via per Monteroni, I-73100 Lecce, Italy

Correspondence to: Stefano Sanvito1 e-mail:


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