Classical and quantum magnetic phenomena in natural and artificial ferritin proteins

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Science  07 Apr 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5207, pp. 77-80
DOI: 10.1126/science.7701343


Artificial ferritin has been synthesized with control of both the magnetic state (antiferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic) and the particle size over an ofer of magnitude in the number of iron atoms. The magnetic properties of the artificial ferritin were compared with those of natural horse spleen ferritin in a range of temperatures (20 millikelvin to 300 kelvin) and fields (1 nanotesla to 27 tesla). In the classical regime, the blocking temperature was found to correlate with the average particle size. A correlation was also observed in the quantum regime between the resonance frequency of macroscopic quantum tunneling of the Neel vector and the particle size. At high magnetic fields (to 27 tesla), a spin flop transition with a strong dependence on orientation was seen in the natural ferritin, providing evidence of antiferromagnetism in this system.

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