Metal-containing organic molecules that exhibit magnetism could one day offer a lightweight, flexible alternative to the relatively dense metal and ceramic magnets used in today’s engines, turbines, and electronics. Researchers have shown that a promising but unstable molecular magnet can become stable when 3D printed (Nano Lett. 2022, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c01879).
In recent years, chemists have built molecular magnets that have magnetic fields comparable to those of conventional magnets at room temperature. But even promising ones, such as vanadium hexacyanochromate, remain sensitive to the environment, says Shenqiang Ren, a materials scientist at the University at Buffalo. “You have to test them in a glove box,” he says. Ren wanted to mix a molecular magnet with a printing resin with the hope that the plastic casing might protect the material from the open air.