Coexistence of superconductivity and magnetism by chemical design


Although the coexistence of superconductivity and ferromagnetism in one compound is rare, some examples of such materials are known to exist. Methods to physically prepare hybrid structures with both competing phases are also known, which rely on the nanofabrication of alternating conducting layers. Chemical methods of building up hybrid materials with organic molecules (superconducting layers) and metal complexes (magnetic layers) have provided examples of superconductivity with some magnetic properties, but not fully ordered. Now, we report a chemical design strategy that uses the self assembly in solution of macromolecular nanosheet building blocks to engineer the coexistence of superconductivity and magnetism in [Ni0.66Al0.33(OH)2][TaS2] at 4 K. The method is further demonstrated in the isostructural [Ni0.66Fe0.33(OH)2][TaS2], in which the magnetic ordering is shifted from 4 K to 16 K.

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Figure 1: Schematic representation of the layered components and the restacked material.
Figure 2: Magnetic susceptibility (a.c.) measured in the 2–7 K interval with an applied field of 3.95 G.
Figure 4: Magnetic susceptibility (a.c.) at 1 (black), 10 (red), 100 (blue) and 1,000 Hz (green) measured in the 2–20 K interval with an applied field of 3.95 G.
Figure 3: Muon spin rotation and fitted parameters.


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The authors acknowledge financial support from the European Union (MolSpinQIP and SPINMOL ERC Advanced Grant), the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación with FEDER co-financing (Project Consolider-Ingenio in Molecular Nanoscience, CSD2007-00010, and projects MAT2007-61584, CTQ-2008-06720, and NAN2004 09270C03-03) and the Generalitat Valenciana (Prometeo Program). The authors also acknowledge the G. Abellán, J.V. Usagre, J.M. Martínez-Agudo, T. Lancaster and F.L. Pratt for help with the experimental work.

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E.C. and C.M.G. conceived and designed the experiments, analysed the data, and prepared the manuscript with help from S.J.B. C.M.G., E.N.M. and A.R. performed the synthesis of the materials and carried out their characterization. P.J.B. and S.J.B. carried out and analysed the muon experiments.

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Correspondence to Eugenio Coronado.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Coronado, E., Martí-Gastaldo, C., Navarro-Moratalla, E. et al. Coexistence of superconductivity and magnetism by chemical design. Nature Chem 2, 1031–1036 (2010).

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