Mn12-acetate thin film patterns and their interaction with superconductors



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Mn12-acetate single-molecule magnets (SMMs) are nano-scale magnets showing a strong magnetic anisotropy, slow relaxation and stepwise magnetic hysteresis curves. Possible applications of Mn12-acetate, e.g. for ultra high density magnetic information storage device, quantum computation, and magnetic molecular electronics, have been suggested due to the unusual magnetic behavior. It is an important prerequisite for the applications to develop a reliable technique to organize the molecules on a surface and to detect the magnetic signals of the molecules. A solution evaporation technique combined with conventional lithography is a simple but reliable method to create Mn12-acetate thin film patterns on the micro/nano-scale. The method is demonstrated with a series of analysis. A superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) shows a non-linear I-V (Current vs. Voltage) characteristic that is modulated by a magnetic flux inside the loop, allowing one to sense and analyze an extremely weak magnetic field. The miniaturized SQUID is appropriate for sensing the magnetic flux from the film structure of the molecular magnets. Theoretical ideas, fabrication, and a measurement technique of the device are presented. A new interesting system, the so-called superconductor/SMM hybrid, results from the experimental configuration. Understanding this new type of hybrid system is important not only because of the expectation of new phenomena affecting the functionality of superconducting devices, but also because the two coupled substances are fundamentally incompatible phases. The first experimental attempt to investigate the interaction between an aluminum superconducting film and Mn12-acetate SMMs will be discussed.