A single molecule magnet could boost the emerging field of spintronics now that researchers in Italy have shown it is possible to deposit a layer of SMMs on to gold, and retain the molecule's magnetic character.
According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, Roberta Sessoli and colleagues at the University of Florence managed to exert some control over the orientation of the molecule once bound to the surface of the gold, something that has historically proved difficult to do.
From the RSC site: SMMs are metal-organic clusters that display purely individual magnetic properties, with each molecule able to be individually magnetised. This has led to a lot of interest in using SMMs for data storage, and potentially quantum computing.
The molecule in this case consists of a disc of four iron atoms, three of them arranged in a fan shape around the fourth. All four are attached to organic ligands, which could attach to the surface of the gold. The researchers have created an environment which makes it more likely that one particular arm will bind to the gold, and so have control over the orientation of the SMM.
More at the RSC (not the home of Shakespeare) here.