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Nature. 2013 Nov 28;503(7477):504-8. doi: 10.1038/nature12597. Epub 2013 Oct 27.

Potential for spin-based information processing in a thin-film molecular semiconductor.

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  • 11] London Centre for Nanotechnology and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, London WC1H 0AH, UK [2] Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA (M.W.); Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK (G.W.M.); RMD Inc., 44 Hunt Street, Watertown, Massachusetts 02472, USA (J.A.G.).


Organic semiconductors are studied intensively for applications in electronics and optics, and even spin-based information technology, or spintronics. Fundamental quantities in spintronics are the population relaxation time (T1) and the phase memory time (T2): T1 measures the lifetime of a classical bit, in this case embodied by a spin oriented either parallel or antiparallel to an external magnetic field, and T2 measures the corresponding lifetime of a quantum bit, encoded in the phase of the quantum state. Here we establish that these times are surprisingly long for a common, low-cost and chemically modifiable organic semiconductor, the blue pigment copper phthalocyanine, in easily processed thin-film form of the type used for device fabrication. At 5 K, a temperature reachable using inexpensive closed-cycle refrigerators, T1 and T2 are respectively 59 ms and 2.6 μs, and at 80 K, which is just above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, they are respectively 10 μs and 1 μs, demonstrating that the performance of thin-film copper phthalocyanine is superior to that of single-molecule magnets over the same temperature range. T2 is more than two orders of magnitude greater than the duration of the spin manipulation pulses, which suggests that copper phthalocyanine holds promise for quantum information processing, and the long T1 indicates possibilities for medium-term storage of classical bits in all-organic devices on plastic substrates.

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