Spin control induced by molecular charging in a transport junction

Nano Letters 18, 88 - 93 (2018)

Spin control induced by molecular charging in a transport junction

S. Karan, C. Garcia, M. Karolak, D. Jacob, N. Lorente, R. Berndt

The ability of molecules to maintain magnetic multistability in nanoscale-junctions will determine their role in downsizing spintronic devices. While spin-injection from ferromagnetic leads gives rise to magnetoresistance in metallic nano-contacts, nonmagnetic leads probing the magnetic states of the junction itself have been considered as an alternative. Extending this experimental approach to molecular junctions, which are sensitive to chemical parameters, we demonstrate that the electron affinity of a molecule decisively influences its spin transport. We use a scanning tunneling microscope to trap a meso-substituted iron porphyrin, putting the iron center in an environment that provides control of its charge and spin states. A large electron affinity of peripheral ligands is shown to enable switching of the molecular S = 1 ground state found at low electron density to S = 1/2 at high density, while lower affinity keeps the molecule inactive to spin-state transition. These results pave the way for spin control using chemical design and electrical means.

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