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Abstract

Single-molecule magnets straddle the classical and quantum mechanical worlds, displaying many fascinating phenomena. They may have important technological applications in information storage and quantum computation. We review the physical properties of two prototypical molecular nanomagnets, Mn-acetate and Fe: Each behaves as a rigid, spin-10 object and exhibits tunneling between up and down directions. As temperature is lowered, the spin-reversal process evolves from thermal activation to pure quantum tunneling. At low temperatures, magnetic avalanches occur in which the magnetization of an entire sample rapidly reverses. We discuss the important role that symmetry-breaking fields play in driving tunneling and in producing Berry-phase interference. Recent experimental advances indicate that quantum coherence can be maintained on timescales sufficient to allow a meaningful number of quantum computing operations to be performed. Efforts are under way to create monolayers and to address and manipulate individual molecules.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-conmatphys-070909-104053
2010-08-10
2024-06-21
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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