The control of spin-orbit coupling (SOC) at the microscopic level has become a major research quest within the magnetism and spintronics communities. Altering the interaction between the spin and orbital degrees of freedom can fundamentally alter the electronic structure of a system, including electronic band inversion, and lead to new states of matter such as topological insulators. Whether based on high SOC lanthanides or transition metal ions, where the crystal field often quenches the orbital angular momentum, single-molecule magnets are an excellent playground for the study of the more fundamental aspects of this interaction and its intrinsic symmetries. This is the case of the molecular magnet reported in this article, where the trigonal symmetry imposed by the spatial arrangement of three constituent manganese ions and the corresponding orientations of their SOC anisotropy tensors result in a fascinating three-fold angular modulation of the quantum tunneling of the magnetization (QTM) rates never before observed, as well as in trigonal quantum interference patterns that mimic the form of a three-leaf clover.
|Publication status||Published - 3 Apr 2014|