The quantum magnetism of individual manganese-12-acetate molecular magnets anchored at surfaces

Nano Lett. 2012 Jan 11;12(1):518-21. doi: 10.1021/nl204141z. Epub 2011 Dec 27.


The high intrinsic spin and long spin relaxation time of manganese-12-acetate (Mn(12)) makes it an archetypical single molecular magnet. While these characteristics have been measured on bulk samples, questions remain whether the magnetic properties replicate themselves in surface supported isolated molecules, a prerequisite for any application. Here we demonstrate that electrospray ion beam deposition facilitates grafting of intact Mn(12) molecules on metal as well as ultrathin insulating surfaces enabling submolecular resolution imaging by scanning tunneling microscopy. Using scanning tunneling spectroscopy we detect spin excitations from the magnetic ground state of the molecule at an ultrathin boron nitride decoupling layer. Our results are supported by density functional theory based calculations and establish that individual Mn(12) molecules retain their intrinsic spin on a well chosen solid support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / chemistry*
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Magnetic Fields
  • Magnets*
  • Manganese / chemistry*
  • Materials Testing
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Surface Properties


  • Acetates
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Manganese