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Ferromagnetism in one-dimensional monatomic metal chains


Two-dimensional systems, such as ultrathin epitaxial films and superlattices, display magnetic properties distinct from bulk materials1. A challenging aim of current research in magnetism is to explore structures of still lower dimensionality2,3,4,5,6. As the dimensionality of a physical system is reduced, magnetic ordering tends to decrease as fluctuations become relatively more important7. Spin lattice models predict that an infinite one-dimensional linear chain with short-range magnetic interactions spontaneously breaks up into segments with different orientation of the magnetization, thereby prohibiting long-range ferromagnetic order at a finite temperature7,8,9. These models, however, do not take into account kinetic barriers to reaching equilibrium or interactions with the substrates that support the one-dimensional nanostructures. Here we demonstrate the existence of both short- and long-range ferromagnetic order for one-dimensional monatomic chains of Co constructed on a Pt substrate. We find evidence that the monatomic chains consist of thermally fluctuating segments of ferromagnetically coupled atoms which, below a threshold temperature, evolve into a ferromagnetic long-range-ordered state owing to the presence of anisotropy barriers. The Co chains are characterized by large localized orbital moments and correspondingly large magnetic anisotropy energies compared to two-dimensional films and bulk Co.

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Figure 1: STM topographs of the Pt(997) surface.
Figure 2: Co X-ray absorption spectra for parallel (μ+) and antiparallel (μ-) direction of light polarization and field-induced magnetization.
Figure 3: Magnetization of a monatomic wire array recorded at the L3 Co edge.
Figure 4: Angular dependence of the magnetization.

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We thank P. Ohresser, S. S. Dhesi, K. Larsson and N. B. Brookes of beamline ID12B of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble for their assistance during the experiment.

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Correspondence to P. Gambardella.

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Gambardella, P., Dallmeyer, A., Maiti, K. et al. Ferromagnetism in one-dimensional monatomic metal chains. Nature 416, 301–304 (2002).

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