Molecular Materials

The research activities of the Ruben-group at the Institute of Nanotechnology (INT) deal with the design of functional nano-systems by state-of-the-art organic/inorganic synthesis and supramolecular self-assembly techniques. We are thematically organised in the interdisciplinary research topics of Functional Molecules, Molecular Electronics and Carbon-based Nanostructures.

Video: Spin-phonon coupling in a single-molecule resonator

Nature Nanotechnology 2013

News & Highlights

2022. NatureRuben-group
Effective Photon-Spin Interface for Quantum Computing

Published in Nature 2022  we present a mononuclear Europium (III) complex, in which the nuclear spins can be read-out and manipulated by photons forming an effective photon-spin interface with potential for distributed quantum computing, see also press.

2022. Nature
Hilbert space dimensionRuben-group
Increasing the Hilbert space dimension using a single coupled molecular spin

Published in Nature Comm 2021 we present the electronic read-out of a coupled molecular multi-level quantum systems, carried by a single Tb2Pc3 molecular magnet. Owning two magnetic centres, this molecular magnet architecture permits a 16-fold dimensional Hilbert space, opening the possibility of performing more complex quantum algorithms.

2021. Nature Communications
optical spin state
Optical spin-state polarization in a binuclear europium complex towards molecule-based coherent light-spin interfaces

In this work in Nature Comm 2021 we demonstrate the efficient polarization of ground-state nuclear spins—a fundamental requirement for all-optical spin initialization and addressing—in a binuclear Eu(III) complex, featuring inhomogeneously broadened 5D0 → 7F0 optical transition, see also press  and video.

2021. Nature Communications
Self-Conditioned Metalloporphyrin
A Self-Conditioned Metalloporphyrin as a Highly Stable Cathode for Fast Rechargeable Magnesium Batteries

Development of practical rechargeable Mg batteries (RMBs) is impeded by their limited cycle life and rate performance of cathodes. As demonstrated herein, a copper-porphyrin with meso-functionalized ethynyl groups is capable of reversible two- and four-electron storage at an extremely fast rate

2021. ChemSusChem
spin-Crossover Active Iron(II) [2x2]
Chiral Resolution of Spin-Crossover Active Iron(II) [2x2] Grid Complexes

In [2x2]-grid complexes the S-type grid complex is chiral, which originates from different non-centrosymmetric spatial organization of the trans type ligands around the Fe(II) centers. Herein, we designed and synthesized two novel intrinsically chiral ligands by appending chiral moieties to the parent ligand. The complexation of these chiral ligands with Fe(II) salt resulted in the formation of enantiomerically pure Fe(II) grid complexes, as unambiguously elucidated by CD and XRD studies exhibiting similar thermal and photo-induced SCO characteristics.

2021. Chemistry - A European Journal.
CO2 reductionRuben-group
Direct Conversion of CO2 to Multi-Layer Graphene using Cu–Pd Alloys

A straightforward one-step process was developed, in which CO2 gas is directly converted into multi-layer graphene via atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition (APCVD). A bimetallic alloy film based on Cu and Pd was employed as the catalyst and substrate.

2019. ChemSusChem
convergent emergence of complexity
Convergent Emergence of Complexity

Interfacial supramolecular self-assembly represents a powerful tool for constructing regular and quasicrystalline materials. In particular, complex two-dimensional molecular tessellations, such as semi-regular Archimedean tilings with regular polygons, promise unique properties related to their nontrivial structures.Here, we have chosen ethynyl-iodophenanthrene (which features dissymmetry in both geometry and reactivity) as a single starting precursor to generate the rare semi-regular ( Archimedean tiling with long-range order on an atomically flat substrate through a multi-step reaction.

2018. Nature chemistry
Nuclear Spin Isomers: Engineering a Et4N[DyPc2] Spin Qudit

Since the discovery of magnetic memory at the single-ion level, several applications have been foreseen for lanthanide-based single-molecule magnets (Ln-SMMs), ranging from data storage to spintronic devices. Amongst the many conceivable applications, probably the most ambitious one is related to the integration of Ln-SMMs in quantum information schemes acting as quantum bits (qubits). Although seemingly a long-term goal, in fact Ln-SMMs have already shown several of the required DiVincenzo characteristics needed to perform as nuclear spin qubits.

2017. Angewandte Chemie / International edition
SMMs from CO2
SMMs from CO2

A publication in Chemical Sciences shows how Single Molecule Magnets (SMMs) exhibiting exchange coupled QTM can be synthesized by insertion of environmentally harmful CO2.

Chem. Sci., 2017, Advance Article
Quantum Einstein-de Haas Effect
Quantum Einstein-de Haas Effect

The Einstein–de Haas effect at the quantum level has been demonstrated using a single-molecule magnet attached to a carbon nanotube mechanical nanoresonator.

Press Nature Physics

Nature Commun. 2016
Divergent Coordination Chemistry
Divergent Coordination Chemistry

Divergent Coordination Chemistry is featured by two, in parallel synthesized tauto-isomeric Fe(II)4 L4 tetramers differing strongly in their magnetic properties. Cover

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016
Giant Magnetic Hysteresis
Giant Magnetic Hysteresis

TbPc2 single-molecule magnets adsorbed on a magnesium oxide tunnel barrier exhibit record magnetic remanence, record hysteresis opening, perfect out-of-plane alignment of the magnetic easy axes, and self-assembly into a well-ordered layer. Cover

Advanced Materials 2016
Tuning Topological Insulators by Molecules
Tuning Topological Insulators by Molecules

A rational design approach guided by theoretical calculations is used to customize the spin texture of surface states of a topological insulator (TI) Bi2Se3. These tailored interface properties—passivation, spin-texture tuning, and creation of hybrid interface states—lay a solid foundation for interface-assisted molecular spintronics in spin-textured materials.

Nano Lett 2015
Ir(ppy)3 as quantum transducer
Ir(ppy)3 as Quantum Transducer for Plasmon Generation

Controlling light at the nanoscale by electrical fields requires objects, in which electro-magnetic properties are responsive to gating fields. In two recent publications it was shown that molecules fulfil this requirement and act as such quantum transducers. This article was presented as research highlight in Nature Photonics.
Nano Letters 2013

Nano Letters 2014
Science 2014 image
Electrically driven nuclear spin resonance in single-molecule magnets

A recent publication in Science shows how coherent single nuclear-spin manipulation using electric fields only can be achieved. This quantum-mechanical process is present in all nuclear spin systems and uses of the hyperfine Stark effect as a magnetic field transducer at the atomic level.

Science June 2014
Spin-phonon coupling in a single-molecule resonator


A single TbPc2 molecule and a carbon nanotube interact electro-mechanically as quantum objects.

Nature News and Views by Richard Winpenny.

Nat. Nanotechnol. 2013
Switching the spin state of a coupled spin-pair

The spin state of a coupled spin-system can be switched electronically.

Nat. Nanotechnol. 2013
Nuclear Spin Read-out in Nature 2012
First Time Electronic Read-out of Nuclear Spin States

For the first time nuclear spin states could be read out electronically by integrating single quantum magnets into circuits. Long nuclear spin lifetimes (tens of seconds) and exceptional relaxation characteristics at the single-atom scale open the way to a completely new device world, into which quantum logics may be implemented. Nat. Nanotech. News and Views by Herre van der Zant.

Nuclear Spin Read-out in Nature 2012
Spin-Split in Nat. Commun. 2012
Real-space observation of spin-split molecular orbitals in adsorbed SMMs

In collaboration with the group of R. Wiesendanger we report the first direct real-space images of spin-split molecular orbitals at a TbPc2-Co(111) spinterface.

Spin Split in Nat. Commun. 2012