We report magnetic hysteresis in Er clusters on Cu(111) starting from the size of three atoms. Combining X-ray magnetic circular dichroism, scanning tunneling microscopy, and mean-field nucleation theory, we determine the size-dependent magnetic properties of the Er clusters. Er atoms and dimers are paramagnetic, and their easy magnetization axes are oriented in-plane. In contrast, trimers and bigger clusters exhibit magnetic hysteresis at 2.5 K with a relaxation time of 2 min at 0.1 T and out-of-plane easy axis. This appearance of magnetic stability for trimers coincides with their enhanced structural stability.
- magnetic anisotropy
- Rare earth clusters
- scanning tunneling microscopy
- X-ray magnetic circular dichroism