Beauty of science: magnetic nano-triangles

23-06-2011

This raw scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) image reveals a periodic pattern of triangular domains (side length 9 nm) in a 2D metal-organic network of iron atoms and organic nickel-based linkers, which was prepared by evaporation on a gold surface.

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The ability to image a sample at a beamline gives users vital information about its properties before X-ray studies are carried out. After being imaged, this sample was transferred under ultra-high vacuum from the STM to the ultra-high vacuum, high-field magnet at ID08, where X-ray magnetic circular dichroism revealed that the iron atoms retain their magnetic moments. Such magnetic molecular monolayers open the possibility of tuning the magnetic properties of metallic surfaces – one of the key issues for future device technology.

 

 

This article appeared in ESRFnews, June 2011. 

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Top image: Credit: Krüger, Hermanns, Bernien and Umbach, Institut für Experimentalphysik, Freie Universität Berlin.