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Supramolecular spin valves


Magnetic molecules are potential building blocks for the design of spintronic devices1,2. Moreover, molecular materials enable the combination of bottom-up processing techniques, for example with conventional top-down nanofabrication3. The development of solid-state spintronic devices based on the giant magnetoresistance4, tunnel magnetoresistance5 and spin-valve effects6 has revolutionized magnetic memory applications. Recently, a significant improvement of the spin-relaxation time has been observed in organic semiconductor tunnel junctions7,8, single non-magnetic molecules coupled to magnetic electrodes have shown giant magnetoresistance9,10 and hybrid devices exploiting the quantum tunnelling properties of single-molecule magnets have been proposed2. Herein, we present an original spin-valve device in which a non-magnetic molecular quantum dot, made of a single-walled carbon nanotube contacted with non-magnetic electrodes, is laterally coupled through supramolecular interactions to TbPc2 single-molecule magnets (Pc=phthalocyanine). Their localized magnetic moments lead to a magnetic field dependence of the electrical transport through the single-walled carbon nanotube, resulting in magnetoresistance ratios up to 300% at temperatures less than 1 K. We thus demonstrate the functionality of a supramolecular spin valve without magnetic leads. Our results open up prospects of new spintronic devices with quantum properties.

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Figure 1: Supramolecular spin-valve device.
Figure 2: Molecular spin-valve electronic-transport characteristics.
Figure 3: Molecular spin-valve switching-field characteristics.


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This work is partially supported by the DFG programmes SPP 1459 and TRR 88, ANR-PNANO project MolNanoSpin No ANR-08-NANO-002, ERC Advanced Grant MolNanoSpin No 226558, STEP MolSpinQIP and the Nanosciences Foundation of Grenoble. Samples were fabricated in the NANOFAB facility of the Néel Institute. We thank M. Affronte, F. Balestro, N. Bendiab, L. Bogani, E. Bonet, V. Bouchiat, L. Calvet, A. Candini, D. Feinberg, J. Jarvinen, L. Marty, T. Novotny, R. Piquerel, C. Thirion and R. Vincent for discussion and software development. We thank D. Lepoittevin, E. Eyraud, R. Haettel, C. Hoarau and V. Reita for technical support. We thank N-V. Nguyen and T. Crozes for help in device fabrication.

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M.U., M.R. and W.W. designed, carried out and analysed the experiments; J-P.C. helped to fabricate the devices; S.K. and M.R. designed, synthesized and characterized the molecule; M.U., M.R. and W.W. co-wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to M. Ruben or W. Wernsdorfer.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Urdampilleta, M., Klyatskaya, S., Cleuziou, JP. et al. Supramolecular spin valves. Nature Mater 10, 502–506 (2011).

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