Tunable Doping of a Metal with Molecular Spins

T. Gang, M.D. Yilmaz, Derya Ataç, Saurabh Bose, Elia Strambini, Aldrik Velders, Michel P. de Jong, Jurriaan Huskens, Wilfred G. van der Wiel

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The mutual interaction of localized magnetic moments and their interplay with itinerant conduction electrons in a solid are central to many phenomena in condensed-matter physics, including magnetic ordering and related many-body phenomena such as the Kondo effect(1), the Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yoshida interaction(2) and carrier-induced ferromagnetism in diluted magnetic semiconductors(3). The strength and relative importance of these spin phenomena are determined by the magnitude and sign of the exchange interaction between the localized magnetic moments and also by the mean distance between them. Detailed studies of such systems require the ability to tune the mean distance between the localized magnetic moments, which is equivalent to being able to control the concentration of magnetic impurities in the host material. Here, we present a method for doping a gold film with localized magnetic moments that involves depositing a monolayer of a metal terpyridine complex onto the film. The metal ions in the complexes can be cobalt or zinc, and the concentration of magnetic impurities in the gold film can be controlled by varying the relative amounts of cobalt complexes (which carry a spin) and zinc complexes (which have zero spin). Kondo and weak localization measurements demonstrate that the magnetic impurity concentration can be systematically varied up to similar to 800 ppm without any sign of inter-impurity interaction. Moreover, we find no evidence for the unwanted clustering that is often produced when using alternative methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
JournalNature nanotechnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • SMI-NE: From 2006 in EWI-NE

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