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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Tom Lancaster

Blundell, S.J., Lancaster, T., Brooks, M.L., Pratt, F.L., Coronado, E., Galan-Mascaros, J.R., Manson, J.L., Cadiou, C. & Winpenny, R.E. (2005). Brief encounter at the molecular level what muons tell us about molecule-based magnets. Synthetic metals 152(1-3): 481-484.

Author(s) from Durham


Spin-polarized muons can be implanted in various molecular magnetic materials in order to measure static and dynamic magnetic field distributions at a local level. The positively-charged muon is an unstable, radioactive particle which has spin–1/2, a lifetime of 2.2 μS, about one-ninth of the proton mass and a magnetic moment of approximately 1/200 μB. Both pulsed and continuous beams of muons can be produced with almost 100% spin polarization and significant intensity at various accelerator facilities. The subsequent decay of the muon into a positron allows the extraction of the muon-spin autocorrelation function which can be related to the magnetic field distribution inside a sample. This experimental technique has found particular application to the problem of hydrogen in semiconductors, as well as the study of the vortex lattice in both high-temperature and organic superconductors. Nevertheless, it has been most widely employed in the field of magnetism. We describe how our experiments using spin-polarized muons have been used to provide information about organic ferromagnets, molecular magnets, spin-chains and single molecule magnets.