Molecular magnetism: from chemical design to spin control in molecules, materials and devices


The field of molecular magnetism is rapidly evolving towards the use of magnetic molecules and molecule-based magnetic materials in physics-driven and nanotechnology-driven fields, in particular molecular spintronics, quantum technologies, metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) and 2D materials. In molecular spintronics, the goal is the development of a new generation of spintronic devices based on molecular materials or, in the longer term, on one or a few molecules. In the area of quantum technologies, the milestones reached in the design of molecular spin qubits with long quantum coherence times and in the implementation of quantum operations have raised expectations for the use of molecular spin qubits in quantum computation. MOFs and 2D materials are two classes of materials for which magnetism has been, until very recently, an elusive property; molecular materials with attractive properties and functionalities are now starting to be developed in both areas. In MOFs, single-molecule magnets and spin crossover complexes can be integrated into the nodes of the framework, within the pores or both, sometimes giving rise to smart magnetic materials or to hybrid materials exhibiting synergistic combinations of properties. 2D molecular-based magnets can provide a platform to study magnetism in the 2D limit and exhibit superior properties compared with their inorganic analogues in terms of chemical stability and tunability.

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Fig. 1: Molecule-based spintronics.
Fig. 2: Manipulation of single spins in molecules.
Fig. 3: Magnetic molecules as quantum bits and quantum gates.
Fig. 4: Metal–organic frameworks containing spin-crossover complexes.
Fig. 5: Metal–organic frameworks containing single-molecule magnets.
Fig. 6: 2D molecular-based magnets.


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This work is dedicated to J. P. Malrieu and B. Tsukerblat on the occasion of their 80th birthdays. The author is indebted to the members of the group and all co-workers and colleagues who have contributed, each in their own way, to the development of the field in the last years. Financial support from the European Union (European Cooperation in Science and Tecnology (COST) Action MolSpin 15128 on Molecular Spintronics, European Research Area in Quantum Technologies (QUANTERA) Project SUMO on Scaling Up Quantum Computation with Molecular Spins and ERC Advanced Grant Mol-2D 788222), the Spanish MINECO (grants MAT2017–89993-R, co-financed by the Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER), and Excellence Unit María de Maeztu MDM-2015–0538) and the Generalitat Valenciana (Prometeo Programme of Excellence) is gratefully acknowledged.

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Coronado, E. Molecular magnetism: from chemical design to spin control in molecules, materials and devices. Nat Rev Mater 5, 87–104 (2020).

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