As the world continues to miniaturize, smaller hard drives and data storage devices are required to maintain the current demand. To address these growing demands, single molecule magnets (SMMs) can be used in place of existing magnetic nanoparticles to increase overall data storage capabilities. These complexes rely upon two different parameters to increase the relative barrier to spin-relaxation, spin and magnetic anisotropy. We are investigating these types of complexes in two distinct directions. First, tethering paramagnetic species together in highly conjugated organic frameworks to increase communication among unpaired spins gives larger spin ground states and therefore more robust magnetic materials. Second, using mononuclear species with large magnetic anisotropies to give larger barriers to magnetic relaxation.
Controllable spin-states of metal complexes are attainable using first-row transition metals which can occupy both low and high-spin states dependent on their surrounding media. Using temperature or the presence or absence of a reagent to modify these spin states gives potential applications for sensors and actuators. Our current investigations center around Fe-species, which bear receptors in the ligand scaffold whereupon addition of analyte causes a spin-state change. We probe these changes by the naked eye and by different spectroscopic and magnetometric methods.
Activation of small molecules is of utmost importance as the demand of alternative energy sources climbs. Harnessing visible light for this process remains challenging but nevertheless crucial. Further, many of the processes currently known use rare earth photosensitizers such as ruthenium or iridium. Instead, if earth abundant photosensitizers were viable for this type of reactivity, commercialization of these reactions on large scale is more viable. Our work currently focuses on discovery, understanding and applicability of iron, chromium and vanadium species for reactivity of organic molecules to produce value-added products.