Controlled Complete Suppression of Single-Atom Inelastic Spin and Orbital Cotunneling

Benjamin Bryant, Ranko Toskovic, Alejandro Ferrón, José L. Lado, Anna Spinelli, Joaquín Fernández-Rossier, Alexander F. Otte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The inelastic portion of the tunnel current through an individual magnetic atom grants unique access to read out and change the atom's spin state, but it also provides a path for spontaneous relaxation and decoherence. Controlled closure of the inelastic channel would allow for the latter to be switched off at will, paving the way to coherent spin manipulation in single atoms. Here, we demonstrate complete closure of the inelastic channels for both spin and orbital transitions due to a controlled geometric modification of the atom's environment, using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The observed suppression of the excitation signal, which occurs for Co atoms assembled into chains on a Cu2N substrate, indicates a structural transition affecting the dz2 orbital, effectively cutting off the STM tip from the spin-flip cotunneling path.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6542-6546
Number of pages5
JournalNano Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Magnetocrystalline anisotropy
  • scanning tunneling microscopy
  • spin excitation
  • strain

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