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Spin Shuttle

Spin shuttle is a term coined for endofullerene molecules which encage and protect an atom or molecule with an open electron shell. Such molecules are candidates for single molecule magnets and have a great potential as building blocks in molecular spintronics. A single molecule magnet is a molecule that retains its magnetization direction for a long time, i.e. displays hysteresis. The first single molecule magnet spin shuttle was DySc2N@C80 (Westerström et al. Journal of the American Chemical Society 134, 9840 (2012)) (article).

Model of DySc2N@C80 (diameter 1.1 nanometer). The electron density of the Dy 4f9 shell in the jz = 15/2 ground state is indicated in red inside the yellow sphere (for enlargement click image). The non-isotropic shape of the open 4f shell is the source of the magnetic anisotropy and the long spin relaxation times of the Dy ion inside C80. It couples to the ligand field of the central nitrogen atom (green) and the carbon cage. Picture copyright Ari P Seitsonen.