Probing Magnetism in Artificial Metal-Organic Complexes Using Electronic Spin Relaxometry

Xue Zhang, Philip Willke, Aparajita Singha, Christoph Wolf, Taner Esat, Minhee Choi, Andreas J. Heinrich, Taeyoung Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Single spins are considered as a versatile candidate for miniaturizing information devices down to the nanoscale. To engineer the spin's properties, metal-organic frameworks provide a promising route which in turn requires thorough understanding of the metal-molecule interaction. Here, we investigate the magnetic robustness of a single iron (Fe) atom in artificially built Fe-tetracyanoethylene (TCNE) complexes by using low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). We find that the magnetic anisotropy and spin relaxation dynamics of the Fe atom within the complexes remain unperturbed in comparison to well-isolated Fe atoms. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations support our experimental findings, suggesting that the 3d orbitals of the Fe atom remain largely undisturbed while the 4s and 4p orbitals are rearranged in the process of forming a complex. To precisely determine the location of the spin center within the complex, we utilize STM-based spin relaxometry, mapping out the spatial dependence of spin relaxation with subnanometer resolution. Our work suggests that the magnetic properties of atoms can remain unchanged while being embedded in a weakly bound molecular framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5618-5624
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - 16 Jul 2020

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© 2020 American Chemical Society.


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