Scope of the Conference

General Topic

"Operating Quantum States in Atoms and Molecules at Surfaces" relates to recent discoveries in an interdisciplinary field between physics, chemistry and materials science which raises expectations for giving input into quantum and spintronic devices – as they are in use today and also towards the realization of future devices operating on quantum states.

State of the Art

Controlling the spin-dependent electronic structure of molecular-scale architectures is essential for their later integration into solid-state devices. In recent years, it has become clear that atoms and molecules can provide specific quantum systems which are able to mimic spintronic components with significant advantages in terms of miniaturization, energy consumption and speed, essential for information and communication technology.1,2 There are, however, large gaps in our knowledge that are related to the assembly and behavior of such architectures in particular to the effect of their interaction upon integration and upscaling. Increasing control of supra-molecular assemblies and specifically synthesized building blocks has been gained in the first decade of the 21st century3 induced magnetic moments have been observed at room temperature in paramagnetic organometallic molecules assembled on ferromagnetic surfaces4. In recent and ongoing research activities, well-defined architectures comprising specific electron and spin systems have been demonstrated and probed at surfaces and interfaces.5,6,7 These developments led to novel mechanisms to tune the behavior of surface-architecture/constructed quantum systems. In this new area of research, scientists from very different fields suddenly observe that they are interested in the same scientific questions: Novel synergies are created between synthetic and magnetochemistry8, surface science and physical chemistry, scanning tunneling spectroscopy and spin polarized tunneling microscopy9, also including novel excitation techniques10 together with X-ray based probes for the time and spin dependent probing of electronic materials in their ground and excited state11,12,13 and the DFT-model calculations14 of the manufactured and probed quantum systems.

Program OutlineOutline of the Conference Schedule

The outline of the conference schedule may be found here.

International Importance

Seminal contributions to the assembly and investigation of surface supported quantum systems and on-surface magnetochemistry and atomic / molecular level spintronics have emerged recently, some even within Swiss Universities and the ETH domain. There is currently a very strong international interest in such themes15,16,17,18 due to their importance for further developments towards the architecture of addressable, coupled spin systems at surfaces and interfaces. This development sets the right time-frame for a workshop held at Monte Verita in order to accelerate research progress by the promotion of cross disciplinary interaction between scientists working on spin-systems while using tool-sets from very different areas of science, namely physics, materials science, chemistry and engineering. The proposed conference will focus on systems composed of few molecules/ atoms interacting with their environment which are supported on well-defined substrates. Also individual atomic systems and artificial molecules/ atoms comprised in a condensed state and addressable at surfaces are of interest. Towards future upscaling it is a key activity to understand and model the properties of molecule/ metal interfaces. The proposers build on the foundation laid down by the success of the SpinMol conference they jointly organized in 2014, but provide a focus point in a new direction. They are not aware of a similar conference held or planned elsewhere, so this proposal comprises a competitive advantage for the Swiss research domain at the time being.

Key Topics and Focus of the Conference

The key topics shall be

  1. the physical and chemical control of spin-architectures at surfaces and interfaces,
  2. the experimental investigation of spin properties e.g. via local probe and spatially averaging experiments (X-ray magnetic circular dichroism, spin polarized photoemission techniques, spin-resolved scanning tunneling spectroscopy/ microscopy)
  3. the ab-initio calculation of the spintronic behavior at real and model interfaces, and
  4. the characterization of exploratory spintronic devices on the basis of single or few atoms or molecules.

Main Objectives of the Conference and Importance for Scientific Co-Operation

Note that this QMol conference is a follow-up of the 2014 SpinMol Conference, also at Monte Verita, which was a great success in terms of attendance (full house) and scientific exchanges. Participating junior researchers shall experience a privileged exposure to this rapidly developing field of knowledge and get early access to the emerging information. This will stimulate them to take a decisive role in shaping future research and form consortia for network grants on this emerging topic of technological relevance.


  1. L. Bogani, W.L. Wernsdorfer, Nature Mater. 7, 179-186 (2008)
  2. S. Sanvito et al., Chem. Soc. Rev. 40, 3336-3355 (2011)
  3. S. Stepanow et al., J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 20, 184002 (2008)
  4. A. Scheybal et al., Chem. Phys. Lett. 411, 214 (2005)
  5. P. Gambardella et al., Nature Mater. 8, 189 (2009)
  6. C. F. Hirjibehedin et al., Science 317, 1199-1203 (2007)
  7. C. Wäckerlin et al., Nature Commun. 1, 61 (2010)
  8. J. Larionova, et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 39, 1605-1609 (2000)
  9. J. Brede et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 047204 (2010)
  10. S. Loth et al., Science 329, 1628–1630 (2010)
  11. H. Wende et al., Nature Mater. 6, 516 (2007)
  12. M. Cinchetti et al., Nature Mater. 8, 115-119 (2008)
  13. M. Bernien et al., ACS Nano 9, 8960-8966 (2015)
  14. P.M. Oppeneer et al., Prog. Surf. Science 84,18–29 (2009)
  15. N. Domingo et al., Chemical Society Reviews 41, 258-302 (2012)
  16. C. Wäckerlin et al., Chemical Science 3, 3154 (2012)
  17. S. Loth et al., Science 335, 196–199 (2012)
  18. I. Rau et al., Science 344, 988 (2014)