Materials Science

Photosensitive Magnetic Switches

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Science  21 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5538, pp. 2173
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5538.2173a

Some photosensitive molecules can undergo reversible structural transitions that result in significant changes in the optical properties; this class of molecules can be used as optical switches. There is evidence that suggests that careful design of the bonding arrangement within a molecule could produce magnetic behavior as well. Exploiting both the photostructural sensitivity and the magnetic properties of molecular materials would create the potential to develop a large breadth of applications, but the successful union of these characteristics has been hard to attain. Nakatani and Yu present a short status report on this developing field and find that the incorporation of organic photochromes (cationic spiropyrans) into molecular magnetic systems yields light-induced switching of the magnetic properties. Although the switching proceeds only at cryogenic temperatures, the demonstration of the principle is encouraging. — ISO

Adv. Mater. 13, 1411 (2001).

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