Observation and electric current control of a local spin in a single-molecule magnet

Tadahiro Komeda, Hironari Isshiki, Jie Liu, Yan Feng Zhang, Nicolás Lorente, Keiichi Katoh, Brian K. Breedlove, Masahiro Yamashita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

355 Citations (Scopus)


In molecular spintronics, the spin state of a molecule may be switched on and off by changing the molecular structure. Here, we switch on and off the molecular spin of a double-decker bis(phthalocyaninato)terbium(III) complex (TbPc 2) adsorbed on an Au(111) surface by applying an electric current via a scanning tunnelling microscope. The dI/dV curve of the tunnelling current recorded onto a TbPc 2 molecule shows a Kondo peak, the origin of which is an unpaired spin of a φ-orbital of a phthalocyaninato (Pc) ligand. By applying controlled current pulses, we could rotate the upper Pc ligand in TbPc 2, leading to the disappearance and reappearance of the Kondo resonance. The rotation shifts the molecular frontier-orbital energies, quenching the φ-electron spin. Reversible switching between two stable ligand orientations by applying a current pulse should make it possible to code information at the single-molecule level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number217
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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