Coherent Spin Control of Single Molecules on a Surface

Philip Willke, Tobias Bilgeri, Xue Zhang, Yu Wang, Christoph Wolf, Herve Aubin, Andreas Heinrich, Taeyoung Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Control of single electron spins constitutes one of the most promising platforms for spintronics, quantum sensing, and quantum information processing. Utilizing single molecular magnets as their hosts establishes an interesting framework since their molecular structure is highly flexible and chemistry-based large-scale synthesis directly provides a way toward scalability. Here, we demonstrate coherent spin manipulation of single molecules on a surface, which we control individually using a scanning tunneling microscope in combination with electron spin resonance. We previously found that iron phthalocyanine (FePc) molecules form a spin-1/2 system when placed on an insulating thin film of magnesium oxide (MgO). Performing Rabi oscillation and Hahn echo measurements, we show that the FePc spin can be coherently manipulated with a phase coherence time T2Echo of several hundreds of nanoseconds. Tunneling current-dependent measurements demonstrate that interaction with the tunneling electrons is the dominating source of decoherence. In addition, we perform Hahn echo measurements on small self-assembled arrays of FePc molecules. We show that, despite additional intermolecular magnetic coupling, spin resonance and T2Echo are much less perturbed by T1 spin flip events of neighboring spins than by the tunneling current. This will potentially allow for individual addressable molecular spins in self-assemblies and with application for quantum information processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17959-17965
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - 23 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.


  • Hahn echo
  • Rabi oscillations
  • electron spin resonance
  • iron phthalocyanine
  • quantum coherence
  • scanning tunneling microscopy
  • spin state


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