Cottrell College Science Awards - 2014
Target Synthesis of Hybrid Nanomaterials from Single-Molecule Magnets
Christos Lampropoulos, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of North Florida, is investigating new materials that may prove valuable in the development of so-called “spintronic” devices, and perhaps even point the way for new materials to create reliable quantum computers.
The next major step in data processing and communications may rely on the intrinsic “spin” of the electron – a quantum physics term relating to the electron’s angular momentum -- rather than its charge, the basis of today’s computers and smart phones.
Researchers have discovered that certain molecules – usually those containing iron and manganese atoms -- can behave as tiny magnets below specific temperatures. As the temperature rises, the magnetic qualities fluctuate – probably a bad thing for tomorrow’s technology.
Lampropoulos and his students are attempting to synthesize and then investigate the structural, magnetic and other properties of these single-molecule magnets (SMMs), looking for ways to tweak their performance. They are also assembling these molecules much like Legos© to synthesize novel solid-state materials.
"We can learn a lot from these materials,” Lampropoulos said. “At the very least we can use this information to better design spintronic devices and quantum computers in the future.”