Nano Letters

Magnetism in single metalloorganic complexes formed by atom manipulation

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The magnetic properties of molecular structures can be tailored by chemical synthesis or bottom-up assembly at the atomic scale. We used scanning tunneling microscopy to study charge and spin transfer in individual complexes of transition metals with the charge acceptor, tetracyanoethylene (TCNE). The complexes were formed on a thin insulator, Cu2N on Cu(100), by manipulation of individual atoms and molecules. The Cu2N layer decouples the complexes from Cu electron density, enabling direct imaging of the TCNE molecular orbitals as well as spin-flip inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy. Results were obtained at low temperature down to 1 K and in magnetic fields up to 7 T in order to resolve splitting of spin states in the complexes. We also performed spin-polarized density functional theory calculations to compare with the experimental data. Our results indicate that charge transfer to TCNE leads to a change in spin magnitude, Kondo resonance, and magnetic anisotropy for the metal atoms. © 2014 American Chemical Society.