Alignment of micro-crystals of Mn12-acetate and direct observation of single molecules thereof



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This dissertation focuses on three separate studies. First, magnetization of the Mn12- acetate was studied by low temperature hysteresis loops and DC magnetization data on magnetically aligned Mn12-acetate micro-crystals. Secondly, Mn12-acetate thin films were fabricated and characterized by AFM and STM. Finally, magnetization of the film material was also studied. Enhanced alignment of Mn12-acetate micro-crystals as compared to prior studies was verified by observation of several sharp steps in low temperature hysteresis loops. It was found that ~ 0.5 T is sufficient to orient the micro-crystals in an organic solvent to a degree comparable to a single crystal. The degree of the alignment was controlled by varying the magnetic field at room temperature and during the cooling process. Subsequently, low temperature hysteresis loops and DC magnetizations were measured for each prepared orientation state of a sample. The high temperature magnetic anisotropy responsible for the alignment could not be measured, possibly due to its small magnitude. Mn12-acetate was deposited onto Si/SiO2 by a solution evaporation method. Atomic force microscopy studies revealed that 2 nm thick films of molecular level smoothness were formed. Mn12-acetate was also deposited onto a Highly Ordered Pyrolytic Graphite (HOPG) surface for scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) studies. A self-assembled triangular lattice was observed in the Mn12-acetate thin films by STM at room temperature under ambient conditions. These STM images show typical center to center intermolecular separations of about 6.3 nm and height corrugation of less than 0.5 nm. Magnetization measurements were not successful in Mn12-acetate thin films due to the small amount of material in the film and the large background signal from the substrate. Therefore, a sample for the magnetization measurements, called ?film material?, was made by evaporating a dilute solution of Mn12-acetate powder in acetonitrile. Significant changes in magnetic properties of the film material were observed from magnetization measurements. The blocking temperature of the film material was found to increase to TB > 10 K at low magnetic fields.