Correlation between Electronic Configuration and Magnetic Stability in Dysprosium Single Atom Magnets

Fabio Donati, Marina Pivetta, Christoph Wolf, Aparajita Singha, Christian Wäckerlin, Romana Baltic, Edgar Fernandes, Jean Guillaume De Groot, Safa Lamia Ahmed, Luca Persichetti, Corneliu Nistor, Jan Dreiser, Alessandro Barla, Pietro Gambardella, Harald Brune, Stefano Rusponi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Single atom magnets offer the possibility of magnetic information storage in the most fundamental unit of matter. Identifying the parameters that control the stability of their magnetic states is crucial to design novel quantum magnets with tailored properties. Here, we use X-ray absorption spectroscopy to show that the electronic configuration of dysprosium atoms on MgO(100) thin films can be tuned by the proximity of the metal Ag(100) substrate onto which the MgO films are grown. Increasing the MgO thickness from 2.5 to 9 monolayers induces a change in the dysprosium electronic configuration from 4f9 to 4f10. Hysteresis loops indicate long magnetic lifetimes for both configurations, however, with a different field-dependent magnetic stability. Combining these measurements with scanning tunneling microscopy, density functional theory, and multiplet calculations unveils the role of the adsorption site and charge transfer to the substrate in determining the stability of quantum states in dysprosium single atom magnets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8266-8273
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - 13 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
F.D, C. Wolf, A.S., and S.L.A. acknowledge support from the Institute for Basic Science under Grant IBS-R027-D1. C. Wäckerlin and J.D. acknowledge funding from SNF Ambizione through the Grant No. PZ00P2_142474.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society.


  • Single atom magnets
  • X-ray magnetic circular dichroism
  • density functional theory
  • lanthanides
  • multiplet calculations
  • scanning tunneling microscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Correlation between Electronic Configuration and Magnetic Stability in Dysprosium Single Atom Magnets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this