Magnetic Bistability of Molecules in Homogeneous Solution at Room Temperature

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Science  28 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6016, pp. 445-448
DOI: 10.1126/science.1201180

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Magnetic bistability, as manifested in the magnetization of ferromagnetic materials or spin crossover in transition metal complexes, has essentially been restricted to either bulk materials or to very low temperatures. We now present a molecular spin switch that is bistable at room temperature in homogeneous solution. Irradiation of a carefully designed nickel complex with blue-green light (500 nanometers) induces coordination of a tethered pyridine ligand and concomitant electronic rearrangement from a diamagnetic to a paramagnetic state in up to 75% of the ensemble. The process is fully reversible on irradiation with violet-blue light (435 nanometers). No fatigue or degradation is observed after several thousand cycles at room temperature under air. Preliminary data show promise for applications in magnetic resonance imaging.

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