Unraveling the Mark of Surface Defects on a Spinterface

"Classical magnets" are usually metals or rare earth alloys, purely organic-based magnets are permanent magnets with s or p magnetic orbitals, combing the typical characteristics of organic molecules, such as chemical flexibility, ease of preparation, and structural design, with magnetism.

The importance of organic-based magnets is growing day by day in view of their applications in electronics. What happens with the spin between a purely organic magnet and an inorganic substrate is largely unknown, because very few studies have been carried out on this class of interfaces, although this is a crucial aspect in a spintronics device.

In this work, we shed light on the mechanisms occurring at the spinterface between the rutile TiO2(110) single crystal surface and a pyrene-based nitronyl nitroxide. We explore the role of structural defects on an organic spin at the interface: when the molecules interact with a defect site upon adsorption, the reactivity of the defect leads to chemisorption of the molecule, quenching its magnetic moment.

Our work elucidates for the first time the crucial role played by the surface defects. This is a result of paramount and general importance ranging from chemistry to physics, from materials science to device physics. Ours is, thus, a powerful approach to understand the mechanisms governing complex interfaces, where it is important to describe both charge and spin behaviour.

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Unraveling the Mark of Surface Defects on a Spinterface: the Nitronyl Nitroxide/TiO2(110) interface” (Reza Kakavandi, Arrigo Calzolari, Yulia B. Borozdina, Prince Ravat, Thomas Chassé, Martin Baumgarten, M. Benedetta Casu) Nano Research 9 (2016) 3515