Theoretical Investigation of Single-Molecule-Magnet Behavior in Mononuclear Dysprosium and Californium Complexes

Debmalya Ray, Meagan S. Oakley, Arup Sarkar, Xiaojing Bai, Laura Gagliardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early-actinide-based (U, Np, and Pu) single-molecule magnets (SMMs) have yet to show magnetic properties similar to those of highly anisotropic lanthanide-based ones. However, there are not many studies exploring the late-actinides (more than half-filled f shells) as potential candidates for SMM applications. We computationally explored the electronic structure and magnetic properties of a hypothetical Cf(III) complex isostructural to the experimentally synthesized Dy(dbm) 3(bpy) complex (bpy = 2,2′-bipyridine; dbm = dibenzoylmethanoate) via multireference methods and compared them to those of the Dy(III) analogue. This study shows that the Cf(III) complex can behave as a SMM and has a greater magnetic susceptibility compared to other experimentally and computationally studied early-actinide-based (U, Np, and Pu) magnetic complexes. However, Cf spontaneously undergoes α-decay and converts to Cm. Thus, we also explored the isostructural Cm(III)-based complex. The computed magnetic susceptibility and g-tensor values show that the Cm(III) complex has poor SMM behavior in comparison to both the Dy(III) and Cf(III) complexes, suggesting that the performance of Cf(III)-based magnets may be affected by α-decay and can explain the poor performance of experimentally studied Cf(III)-based molecular magnets in the literature. Further, this study suggests that the ligand field is dominant in Cf(III), which helps to increase the magnetization blocking barrier by nearly 3 times that of its 4f congener.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1649-1658
Number of pages10
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number4
Early online date18 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2023


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