Spin coupling and orbital angular momentum quenching in free iron clusters

M. Niemeyer, K. Hirsch, V. Zamudio-Bayer, A. Langenberg, M. Vogel, M. Kossick, C. Ebrecht, K. Egashira, A. Terasaki, T. Möller, B. V. Issendorff, J. T. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetic spin and orbital moments of size-selected free iron cluster ions Fen+ (n=3-20) have been determined via x-ray magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy. Iron atoms within the clusters exhibit ferromagnetic coupling except for Fe13+, where the central atom is coupled antiferromagnetically to the atoms in the surrounding shell. Even in very small clusters, the orbital magnetic moment is strongly quenched and reduced to 5%-25% of its atomic value while the spin magnetic moment remains at 60%-90%. This demonstrates that the formation of bonds quenches orbital angular momenta in homonuclear iron clusters already for coordination numbers much smaller than those of the bulk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number057201
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 30 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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