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Three-Dimensional Mapping of Single-Atom Magnetic Anisotropy

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Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, 22761 Hamburg, Germany
Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
Cite this: Nano Lett. 2015, 15, 3, 1938–1942
Publication Date (Web):February 9, 2015
Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract Image

    Magnetic anisotropy plays a key role in the magnetic stability and spin-related quantum phenomena of surface adatoms. It manifests as angular variations of the atom’s magnetic properties. We measure the spin excitations of individual Fe atoms on a copper nitride surface with inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy. Using a three-axis vector magnet we rotate the magnetic field and map out the resulting variations of the spin excitations. We quantitatively determine the three-dimensional distribution of the magnetic anisotropy of single Fe atoms by fitting the spin excitation spectra with a spin Hamiltonian. This experiment demonstrates the feasibility of fully mapping the vector magnetic properties of individual spins and characterizing complex three-dimensional magnetic systems.

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    Form of the Stevens operators, “g-factor” as an isotropic fitting parameter, fitting parameters for a selected Fe atom, arbitrary choice of the coordinate system. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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