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Stretching molecules yields new understanding of electricity
Date:6/10/2010

pinning molecule is attached to electrodes, interactions between the molecule and electrons lead to coordinated motion of the electrons, resulting in a localized cloud of electrons that cancels out the molecule's spin and permits the electrons to flow with decreasing resistance as the temperature approaches zero degrees Kelvin, -273 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, theories since 1980 have also predicted for certain types of high-spin molecules the possibility of an underscreened Kondo effect, in which the spin of the molecule is not completely cancelled and the resulting correlations between the flowing electrons are not as complete.

The researchers tested the Kondo effect by placing the cobalt-based complex between two electrodes and slowly stretching individual spin-containing molecules. They were able to manipulate the molecule's magnetic properties and make precise tests of how electrical resistance changes with variations in temperature. The results were found to be in good agreement with predictions for the underscreened Kondo effect.

"The research shows mechanical control can be a realistic strategy for manipulating molecular spin states, to supplement or replace the use of magnetic fields in proposed applications such as quantum computing or information storage," said Parks.


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Contact: Bobbie Mixon
bmixon@nsf.gov
703-292-8485
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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