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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Jan 21;106(3):037205. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Itinerant nature of atom-magnetization excitation by tunneling electrons.

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Institute of Applied Physics, Hamburg University, Jungiusstrasse 11, D-20355 Hamburg, Germany.


We have performed single-atom magnetization curve (SAMC) measurements and inelastic scanning tunneling spectroscopy (ISTS) on individual Fe atoms on a Cu(111) surface. The SAMCs show a broad distribution of magnetic moments with 3.5 μB being the mean value. ISTS reveals a magnetization excitation with a lifetime of 200 fsec which decreases by a factor of 2 upon application of a magnetic field of 12 T. The experimental observations are quantitatively explained by the decay of the magnetization excitation into Stoner modes of the itinerant electron system as shown by newly developed theoretical modeling.

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