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Phys Rev Lett. 2009 Oct 23;103(17):176601. Epub 2009 Oct 21.

Efficient spin transitions in inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy.

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Centre d'Investigació en Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (CSIC-ICN), Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Spain.


The excitation of the spin degrees of freedom of an adsorbed atom by tunneling electrons is computed using strong coupling theory. Recent measurements [Heinrich, Science 306, 466 (2004)] reveal that electron currents in a magnetic system efficiently excite its magnetic moments. Our theory shows that the incoming electron spin strongly couples with that of the adsorbate so that memory of the initial spin state is lost, leading to large excitation efficiencies. First-principles transmissions are evaluated in quantitative agreement with the experiment.

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