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R&D: Toward Ultimate Memory with Single-Molecule Multiferroics

Work not only sheds light on discovery of single-molecule multiferroics but also provides new guideline to design multifunctional materials for ultimate memory devices.

Journal of the American Chemical Society has published an article written by Yali Yang, School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China, Key Laboratory of Computational Physical Sciences (Ministry of Education), State Key Laboratory of Surface Physics, and Department of Physics, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China, and Shanghai Qi Zhi Institute, Shanghai 200030, China, Liangliang Hong, Key Laboratory of Computational Physical Sciences (Ministry of Education), State Key Laboratory of Surface Physics, and Department of Physics, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China, and Shanghai Qi Zhi Institute, Shanghai 200030, China, Laurent Bellaiche, Physics Department and Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, USA, and Hongjun Xiang, Key Laboratory of Computational Physical Sciences (Ministry of Education), State Key Laboratory of Surface Physics, and Department of Physics, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China, and Shanghai Qi Zhi Institute, Shanghai 200030, China.

Abstract: The demand for high-density storage is urgent in the current era of data explosion. Recently, several single-molecule (-atom) magnets and ferroelectrics have been reported to be promising candidates for high-density storage. As another promising candidate, single-molecule multiferroics are not only small in size but also possess ferroelectric and magnetic orderings, which can sometimes be strongly coupled and used as data storage to realize the combination of electric writing and magnetic reading. However, they have been rarely proposed and have never been experimentally reported. Here, by building Hamiltonian models, we propose a new model of single-molecule multiferroics in which electric dipoles and magnetic moments are parallel and can rotate with the rotation of the single molecule. Furthermore, by performing spin–lattice dynamics simulations, we reveal the conditions (e.g., large enough single-ion anisotropy and an appropriate electric field) under which the new single-molecule multiferroic can arise. Based on this model, as well as first-principles calculations, a realistic example of Co(NH3)4N@SWCNT is constructed and numerically confirmed to demonstrate the feasibility of the new single-molecule multiferroic model. Our work not only sheds light on the discovery of single-molecule multiferroics but also provides a new guideline to design multifunctional materials for ultimate memory devices.

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