Molecular Spintronics

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Materials

Abstract

Over the last decade there has been tremendous growth in the fields of spintronics and organic electronics. Individually, these fields promise to deal with two aspects of the challenges now facing modern inorganic semiconductor electronics: the first being the need - driven by ever increasing power densities and the quest for quantum computers - to exploit degrees of freedom other than the electron charge; the second being the desire for very cheap, universally printable circuits. Although the term 'spintronics' is relatively new, and refers to the manipulation and measurement of the spin rather than just the charge of the electron, information technology has long depended on the electron spin for data storage. Arguably the first advanced spintronic devices are the magnetoresistive (where an external magnetic field modulates the electrical resistance of a material) read heads which have revolutionised hard-drive data storage. The next major use of spintronics will almost certainly be in magnetic random access memory (MRAM), which will combine many of the advantages (notably access speed) of DRAM with the non-volatility of hard drives.Thanks to their low cost, ease of processing, chemical versatility and compatibility with flexible substrates, molecular semiconductors such as phthalocyanines, porphyrins and perylenes, whose key features are rings of carbon atoms, are establishing themselves as attractive alternatives to inorganic semiconductors, such as silicon, for a variety of optoelectronic devices, e.g. organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and photovoltaics (OPV). These materials are extremely versatile, with a long history in biomedicine; indeed chlorophyll (which converts light into energy in plants) is a porphyrin derivative and phthalocyanine derivatives are used in cancer therapy. They also have properties that make them desirable for spintronics. Their long spin relaxation times are already being exploited, for example, in spin valve devices where amorphous organic films are used as spacers. Furthermore, they are endowed with high molecular purity compared to inorganic crystal lattices, and display tremendous flexibility for insertion of magnetic entities into molecular frameworks which can be tailored at will, contrary to what can be attained in gallium arsenide (GaAs), the most widely used inorganic semiconductor material for spintronics. Other major advantages of organic molecules are highly tuneable optical properties and large magneto-optic effects in the visible region of the spectrum, which are compatible with discrete local switching.Our research will develop the new field of molecular spintronics, with the specific aim of creating a platform technology for magneto-optics, electronics, and molecular recognition. The platform will be developed for areas where organics have unique advantages. We look forward to particularly dramatic impacts on biology where functionalization is more straightforward than for inorganics, and for quantum information technology where the separation into magnetic ion and ligand subsystems provides independent addressability of qubits (the magnetic ions which can be positioned at will in the carbon ring centers) and control bits (the overlapping ligand - carbon ring - orbitals) which cannot be readily achieved in inorganic solids. To carry out the programme, we have assembled an interdisciplinary team from London and Warwick which has already combined informally to perform groundbreaking proof of concept work, including the fabrication of phthalocyanine nanowires and observation of highly informative magnetic resonance in molecular thin films, for the current proposal. The project has a very specific set of objectives, ranging from optically controlled magnetic interactions to a novel bioassay chip relying on magnetic resonance. To facilitate management, there will be work-packages for film deposition and characterization, devices, biology and theory.

Publications

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Cruickshank A (2011) Electrodeposition of ZnO Nanostructures on Molecular Thin Films in Chemistry of Materials

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Cruickshank AC (2012) The crystalline structure of copper phthalocyanine films on ZnO(1100). in Journal of the American Chemical Society

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Fleet LR (2017) Self-Assembled Molecular Nanowires for High-Performance Organic Transistors. in ACS applied materials & interfaces

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Gardener J (2011) Oxide Nanoparticle Thin Films Created Using Molecular Templates in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C

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Gilchrist J (2017) Revealing structure and electronic properties at organic interfaces using TEM in Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science

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Gilchrist J (2012) Using TEM and XRD to probe crystal orientation in organic thin films grown with OMBD in Journal of Physics: Conference Series

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Gilchrist J (2014) Uncovering Buried Structure and Interfaces in Molecular Photovoltaics in Advanced Functional Materials

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Goode A (2017) Analytical transmission electron microscopy at organic interfaces in Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science

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Heutz S (2015) Molecular spintronics: A warm exchange. in Nature materials

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Heutz Sandrine (2015) MOLECULAR SPINTRONICS A warm exchange in NATURE MATERIALS

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Perfetti M (2016) Molecular Order in Buried Layers of TbPc2 Single-Molecule Magnets Detected by Torque Magnetometry. in Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.)

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Pilia L (2014) Giant Magnetoresistance in a Molecular Thin Film as an Intrinsic Property in Advanced Functional Materials

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Robaschik P (2017) Formation of ferromagnetic molecular thin films from blends by annealing. in Beilstein journal of nanotechnology

 
Description - Created novel molecular magnetic thin films and nanostructures.
- Established correlations between structure (both chemical and crystalline) of molecular materials and magnetic properties, both experimentally and theoretically.
- Developed novel spin-based metrologies to assess molecular orientation and aggregation.
- Created novel organic transistor structures. - Created nanowire transistors. - Controlled and exploited photoinduced spin states.
Exploitation Route Key findings for organic electronics (both device development and characterisation) and spintronics.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/s.heutz
 
Description Outreach - communication with the public Technology - spin-based (bio)sensor (patent under review) Policy - place of molecular materials in ICT through spintronics Industry - use of methodologies to image hard-soft interface.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description MatSEEC
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact MatSEEC is an ESF Temporary Expert Committee in the remit of and associated with the ESF Standing Committee for Physical and Engineering Sciences (PEN (formerly PESC)) with a task related term of 5 years starting on the date of its inauguration meeting. The mission shall include delivering foresight reports and scientific advice to PEN (formerly PESC) and ESF on issues related to Materials Science and Engineering and matters of concern to the related scientific communities, as well as to European National Agencies and Ministries, institutions of the European Commission, and the European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) upon request. The mission also included tasks related to peer-review and assessment of scientific research proposals. Further the Committee provided foresight surveys and scientific advice to ESF member organisations and European organisations. The Committee prepared strategic policy documents.
URL http://www.esf.org/hosting-experts/expert-boards-and-committees/materials-science-and-engineering.ht...
 
Description CASE
Amount £27,300 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2015 
End 10/2018
 
Description Foundations of Molecular Nanospintronics
Amount £124,259 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H002022/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2009 
End 04/2014
 
Description ICAM
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Organisation BP (British Petroleum) 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2013 
End 04/2018
 
Description PhD studentship
Amount £21,000 (GBP)
Organisation Kurt J Lesker Company 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2015 
End 02/2018
 
Description SPIN-Lab
Amount £1,907,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P030548/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Description COST Molecular Spintronics 
Organisation University of Florence
Department Department of Chemistry "Ugo Schiff"
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am part of the European COST centre in MOlecular Spintronics. I am participating in workshops and conferences and seeding collaborations. I have a strong collaboration with Professor Roberta Sessoli at the University of Florence and the COST action funded one of my PhD student's stay in Florence for 2 weeks. My contribution is in the fabrication of molecular thin films.
Collaborator Contribution My collaborators in Florence contribute novel methodologies for the measurements of magnetic properties.
Impact 10. M. Perfetti, M. Serri, L. Poggini, M. Mannini, P. Sainctavit, S. Heutz, R. Sessoli, Molecular order in buried layers of TbPc2 Single-Molecule Magnets detected by torque magnetometry, Adv. Mater. 28 (2016) 6946.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with Grand Challenge/TSB 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contribution and collaboration with Professor Mary Ryan's programme "Development of Prototype High Efficiency Multi-Junction Organic Solar Cells" (EP/J500161/1)
Start Year 2009
 
Description Inclusion into UK-Japan partnership 
Organisation Nagoya University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The PI has been included into a UK-Japan programme on "Radical New Materials for Organic Electronics", participated in workshops and hosted students.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Inclusion into UK-Japan partnership 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The PI has been included into a UK-Japan programme on "Radical New Materials for Organic Electronics", participated in workshops and hosted students.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Participation in UK-Japan research collaboration 
Organisation Nagoya University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The PI has been included into a UK-Japan programme on "Radical New Materials for Organic Electronics", participated in workshops and hosted students.
Start Year 2009
 
Title Spin-based biosensor 
Description Development of a new method using electron paramagnetic resonance to detect biomolecules with high sensitivity 
IP Reference  
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed No
Impact None so far
 
Description School partnership (Coleridge) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Developed a project on solar cells with local primary school. Obtained through Royal Society Partnership grant "juiced up and solar empowered". Involved targeted classroom activities (targeted 240 children) and presentation to the school (targeted 360 children)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/grants/partnership-grants/
 
Description Soapbox science 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participated to soapbox science event supported by l'Oreal for/via women in Science. Entitled: "From car paint to supercomputers, the story of multitasking molecules". Reached general public and media (http://www.theguardian.com/careers/women-science-careers)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://soapboxscience.org/?page_id=7