Design of Bistable Gold@Spin-Crossover Core-Shell Nanoparticles Showing Large Electrical Responses for the Spin Switching

A simple protocol to prepare core-shell gold@spin-crossover (Au@SCO) nanoparticles (NPs) based on the 1D spin-crossover [Fe(Htrz)2(trz)](BF4) coordination polymer is reported. The synthesis relies on a two-step approach consisting on a partial surface ligand substitution of the citrate-stabilized Au NPs followed by the controlled growth of a very thin layer of the SCO polymer. As a result, colloidally stable core@shell spherical NPs of 19 nm in size exhibiting a narrow distribution in sizes have been obtained, revealing a switchable SCOshell of ca.4 nm. Temperature-dependent charge transport measurements of an electrical device based on assemblies of these Au@SCO NPs display well-defined, reproducible and sharp thermal hysteresis loops in the conductance near room temperature. This device is characterized both, by a large change in conductance upon spin state switching, and a remarkable transition abruptness, as compared with other memory devices based on the pristine SCO NPs. As a result, the sensitivity of the device to the spin transition is dramatically improved, with values for the ON/OFF ratio which are an order of magnitude better than the best ones obtained in previous SCO devices.