Research Highlight

New molecular magnets

Biplab Das

doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.264 Published online 28 August 2008

Researchers have devised a new technique that might come handy in designing better molecular magnets. The team has used the technique in molecular magnetic systems of iron and copper1. These molecular magnets could make a novel class of information storage systems.

Molecular magnets are a new class of fascinating materials formed by unpaired electrons in atoms. Pinning down electron properties like definite total spin (as electrons revolve around their own axis) has been a vexing problem in quantum chemistry. To overcome this, the researchers developed a computer-based model for molecular magnets. For this, they designed a hybrid technique based on valence-bond. They simulated several valence-bond diagrams on computer screens culminating in cubes.

Then the researchers applied the above method to model a molecular system comprising iron and copper ions. In this molecule, eight iron ions are at cube corners and six copper ions are on the outward perpendicular to the face centers of the cube. Each copper ion is connected to the four nearest iron ions via ferromagnetic exchange interactions. The researchers say that this technique could be extended to model other molecular magnetic systems.

The authors of this work are from: Department of Physics, Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit and Centre for High Energy Physics of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.


  1. Sahoo, S. et al. Fully symmetrized valence-bond based technique for solving exchange Hamiltonians of molecular magnets. Phys. Rev. B. 78, 054408 (2008) | Article |