Adsorption-induced switching of magnetic anisotropy in a single iron(II) phthalocyanine molecule on an oxidized Cu(110) surface

Phys Rev Lett. 2009 Apr 24;102(16):167203. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.102.167203. Epub 2009 Apr 23.


We examined the zero-field splitting of an iron(II) phthalocyanine (FePc) attached to clean and oxidized Cu(110) surfaces and the dependence on an applied magnetic field by inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy with STM. The symmetry of the ligand field surrounding the Fe atom is lowered on the oxidized surface, switching the magnetic anisotropy from the easy plane of the bulk to the easy axis. The zero-field splitting was not observed for FePc on a clean Cu(110) surface, and the spin state converts from triplet to singlet due to the strong coupling of Fe d states with the Cu substrate, as is also confirmed by photoelectron spectroscopy. These findings demonstrate the importance of coupling at the molecule-substrate interface for manipulating the magnetic properties of adsorbates.