Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Single molecule controlled at room temperature: Tiny magnetic switch discovered

Date:
February 1, 2011
Source:
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel
Summary:
Chemists have succeeded for the first time in directly controlling the magnetic state of a single molecule at room temperature. The switchable molecule could be used both in the construction of tiny electromagnetic storage units and in the medical imaging.

Professor Rainer Herges (left) and Marcel Dommaschk irradiate a solution of the molecular magnet switch with blue-green and blue-violet light. The researchers can change the magnetic state of the molecule using the light waves.
Credit: CAU/Torsten Winkler

A Kiel research group headed by the chemist, Professor Rainer Herges, has succeeded for the first time in directly controlling the magnetic state of a single molecule at room temperature. The paper was recently published in the journal Science. The switchable molecule, which is the result of a sub-project of the Collaborative Research Centre 677 "Function by Switching," could be used both in the construction of tiny electromagnetic storage units and in the medical imaging.

Related Articles


The scientists at the Kiel University developed a molecular machine constructed in a similar way to a record player. The molecule consists of a nickel ion surrounded by a pigment ring (porphyrin), and a nitrogen atom which hovers above the ring like the tone arm on a record player. "When we irradiate this molecule with blue-green light, the nitrogen atom is placed exactly vertically to the nickel ion like a needle," Rainer Herges explains. "This causes the nickel ion to become magnetic, because the pairing of two electrons is cancelled out," says the chemistry professor. The counter effect is blue-violet light: The nitrogen atom is raised, the electrons form a pair and the nickel ion is no longer magnetic. "We can repeat this switching of the magnetic state over 10,000 times by varied irradiation with the two different wavelengths of light, without wearing out the molecular machine or encountering side reactions," Herges enthuses.

The switch which has been discovered, with its diameter of only 1.2 nanometres, could be used as a tiny magnetic reservoir in molecular electronics. Most of all, hard disk manufacturers may be interested in this, as a higher storage capacity can be achieved by reducing the size of the magnetic particles on the surface of the disks. Professor Herges also believes the use of the magnetic switch in the medical field is feasible: "The record player molecule can be used intravenously as a contrast agent in MRT (magnetic resonance tomography) in order to search for tumours or constricted blood vessels. Initial tests in the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein's neuroradiology department were successful."

As the signal-to-noise ratio is improved by the switching process, a smaller amount of the contrast agent is required than for the magnetic salts currently being used. In addition, according to Herges, the molecular machine could also serve as a basis for developing new contrast agents to depict such features as temperature, pH value or even certain biochemical markers in the body in a three-dimensional form. Rainer Herges lists the possible fields of application: "Using contrast agents such as these, it could be possible to localise centres of inflammation, detect tumours and visualise many metabolic processes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Venkataramani, U. Jana, M. Dommaschk, F. D. Sonnichsen, F. Tuczek, R. Herges. Magnetic Bistability of Molecules in Homogeneous Solution at Room Temperature. Science, 2011; 331 (6016): 445 DOI: 10.1126/science.1201180

Cite This Page:

Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. "Single molecule controlled at room temperature: Tiny magnetic switch discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128075718.htm>.
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. (2011, February 1). Single molecule controlled at room temperature: Tiny magnetic switch discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128075718.htm
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. "Single molecule controlled at room temperature: Tiny magnetic switch discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128075718.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins