Monday, August 5, 2013

1308.0404 (J. F. Nossa et al.)

Cotunneling signatures of Spin-Electric coupling in frustrated
triangular molecular magnets

J. F. Nossa, C. M. Canali
The ground state of frustrated (antiferromagnetic) triangular molecular magnets is characterized by two total-spin $S =1/2$ doublets with opposite chirality. According to a group theory analysis [M. Trif \textit{et al.}, Phys. Rev. Lett. \textbf{101}, 217201 (2008)] an external electric field can efficiently couple these two chiral spin states, even when the spin-orbit interaction (SOI) is absent. The strength of this coupling, $d$, is determined by an off-diagonal matrix element of the dipole operator, which can be calculated by \textit{ab-initio} methods [M. F. Islam \textit{et al.}, Phys. Rev. B \textbf{82}, 155446 (2010)]. In this work we propose that Coulomb-blockade transport experiments in the cotunneling regime can provide a direct way to determine the spin-electric coupling strength. Indeed, an electric field generates a $d$-dependent splitting of the ground state manifold, which can be detected in the inelastic cotunneling conductance. Our theoretical analysis is supported by master-equation calculations of quantum transport in the cotunneling regime. We employ a Hubbard-model approach to elucidate the relationship between the Hubbard parameters $t$ and $U$, and the spin-electric coupling constant $d$. This allows us to predict the regime in which the coupling constant $d$ can be extracted from experiment.
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