11 February 2021

Strong Magnetic Coupling in Molecular Magnets through Direct Metal-Metal Bonds

Molecular structure of the neutral Ni4(NPtBu3)4 Molecular structure of the neutral Ni4(NPtBu3)4

An exciting advance of interest to future molecular-scale information storage. By using the uniquely high frequency Electron Magnetic Resonance techniques available at the MagLab, researchers have found single molecule magnets that feature direct metal orbital overlap (instead of weak superexchange interactions), resulting in behavior similar to metallic feromagnets that is far more suitable to future technologies than previous molecular magnets.

What did scientists discover?

This study demonstrates the possibility of designing magnetic molecules featuring direct metal-metal bonds, similar to those found in metallic ferromagnets such as elemental iron.


This research was conducted in the MagLab 15/17 Tesla Transmission Spectrometer at the MagLab's EMR Facility.

Why is this important?

The work identifies new strategies for bottom-up synthetic assembly of robust ferromagnetic nanoparticles using low-cost, earth-abundant elements that may one day operate at room temperature or above. Such objects hold promise for the development of future molecular-scale magnetic storage applications, featuring information densities exceeding those of current technologies by one to two orders of magnitude.

Who did the research?

K. Chakarawet1, M. Atanasov2,3, J. Marbey4, P. C. Bunting1, F. Neese2, S. Hill4 and J. R. Long1,5

1UC Berkeley; 2Max Planck Inst. for Coal Research; 3Bulgarian Academy of Science; 4National MagLab FSU; 5LBNL

Why did they need the MagLab?

Due to the strong magnetic interactions among the itinerant electrons in these metallic nanoparticles, high magnetic fields combined with spectrometers covering a wide range of microwave frequencies are essential for gaining fundamental insights into this promising new class of magnetic materials. Such world-unique experimental capabilities can only be found within the MagLab’s Electron Magnetic Resonance (EMR) facility.

Details for scientists


This research was funded by the following grants: G. S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1644779); S. Hill (NSF DMR-1610226); J. R. Long (NSF CHE-1800252)

For more information, contact Stephen Hill.


  • Research Area: Chemistry - Inorganic and Coordination, Chemistry - Materials, Chemistry - Nanomaterials,Magnetism and Magnetic Materials
  • Research Initiatives: Materials
  • Facility / Program: EMR
  • Year: 2021
Last modified on 12 February 2021