Engineering atomic-scale magnetic fields by dysprosium single atom magnets

A. Singha, P. Willke, T. Bilgeri, X. Zhang, H. Brune, F. Donati, A. J. Heinrich, T. Choi

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Atomic scale engineering of magnetic fields is a key ingredient for miniaturizing quantum devices and precision control of quantum systems. This requires a unique combination of magnetic stability and spin-manipulation capabilities. Surface-supported single atom magnets offer such possibilities, where long temporal and thermal stability of the magnetic states can be achieved by maximizing the magnet/ic anisotropy energy (MAE) and by minimizing quantum tunnelling of the magnetization. Here, we show that dysprosium (Dy) atoms on magnesium oxide (MgO) have a giant MAE of 250 meV, currently the highest among all surface spins. Using a variety of scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) techniques including single atom electron spin resonance (ESR), we confirm no spontaneous spin-switching in Dy over days at ≈ 1 K under low and even vanishing magnetic field. We utilize these robust Dy single atom magnets to engineer magnetic nanostructures, demonstrating unique control of magnetic fields with atomic scale tunability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4179
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021

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