The team will explore new ways to manipulate paramagnetic coordination compounds by creating femtosecond coherent vibrational wavepackets along the Jahn-Teller (JT) axis to enable optical control of the magnetic anisotropy. The project builds on the team’s proof-of-principle results published earlier this year (Liedy et al, Nature Chemistry, 12, 452 - 458 (2020)) and involves synthesis of new molecules, advanced measurements and quantum chemical calculations. State-of-the-art spectroscopic methods, such as ultrafast electron diffraction and X-ray free-electron lasers, will be used in collaboration with external project partners in Japan, Switzerland and Germany.
The total value of the grant is £1.1M.
The potential for fast, coherent optical control of electronic and magnetic states in molecular magnets is an exciting prospect with potential long-term application in a breadth of quantum technologies. Through a combination of synthetic coordination chemistry and ultrafast spectroscopy, in tandem with detailed theoretical input, we hope to be able to understand, exploit and ultimately control quantum dynamics in magnetic molecules.
The project will allow us to explore a new research area to develop a deep fundamental understanding of the interaction of light with magnetic molecules. This is a complex problem and we have assembled a great team to tackle this from a range of different angles. I’m very excited to get started and work with my colleagues from both Edinburgh and Newcastle, but also from around the world!