Organic electronics has made enormous progress since it was first discovered that organic molecules can act as electrical conductors. Now Japanese researchers have demonstrated the origin of magnetism in organic compounds.
Organic electronics uses carbon-based organic materials rather than the inorganic materials such as silicon and metals currently used in electronic devices. Although still an emerging field, this branch of electronics holds great promise. The materials are cheaper to produce, flexible and biodegradable [PDF].
Organic light- emitting diodes (OLEDs) are already commercially in use in displays of mobile devices and significant progress has been made in applying organic photovoltaic cells to a light-weight flexible fabric to generate low-cost solar energy. But an entirely new range of applications is possible such as disposable biodegradable RFID tags and biomedical implants.
One of the limiting factors of organic materials is that they rarely exhibit magnetic properties because their atomic structure is fundamentally different from metals. But for electronic applications such as data storage and electric motors magnetism is essential.
Now a team of scientists from the RIKEN research center has established an exact theoretical model which could aid materials scientists to develop organic magnetic materials.
To get there, the team took one of the few known organic compounds with magnetic properties called TDAE-C60. The compound comprises of C60, a spherical molecule of carbon atoms and an organic molecule known as tetrakis-dimethylamino-ethylene or TDAE.
To unlock the secret of its magnetic powers, the researchers fired x-rays at a single crystal of TDAE-C60. The radiation elevated the energy level of electrons which made them escape the surface. The researchers measured the number and kinetic energy of these electrons from which they could infer information about the electronic structure.
They concluded that the magnetic properties of TDAE-C60 occurs when an electron transfers from the TDAE to the C60.
The model explaining organic magnetism can be used for future practical applications like organic electronic data storage devices.
Source: Riken Research