Lead


Lay summary
In our modern society two of the most pressing needs are: in medicine, the development of new therapeutic agents for the treatment of malignant neoplasms (cancer) and: in technology, the search of more efficient ways to store and process digital information.

With the term "cancer" is indicated a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood). These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, do not invade or metastasize. Cancer may affect people at all ages, even fetuses, but the risk for most varieties increases with age. Cancer causes about 13 % of all deaths in western society and according to the American Cancer Society, 7.6 million people died from cancer in the world during 2007.

For more efficient ways to store and process digital information there are a couple of possibilities: One is to squeeze more data onto storage devices by making currently used magnetic nanoparticles even smaller. Another is to develop fundamentally different ways to process information, such as quantum-based computing. That's where single-molecule magnets (SMMs) may fit in. Conventional magnets rely on the collective behavior of the unpaired electrons of hundreds of thousands or millions of individual metal centers in a particle or bulk material. SMMs, on the other hand, are metal-based molecules that individually exhibit the classical properties of a magnet below a critical temperature called the blocking temperature, which is currrently limited to about 4 K. Because of their small size, SMMs also have been shown to exhibit quantum tunneling of magnetization and quantum phase interference, key properties needed for materials to function as quantum bits.

For both of these needs, the use of chemistry to develop new drugs and materials is crucial. Interestingly, the natural occurring metal Rhenium (Re) shows chemical and physical properties which make the element useful for applications both in medicine (as a chemotherapeutic agent) and in technology (for the development of SMMs).

This research program intends to synthesize, investigate, develop and apply new Re-based paramagnetic molecules for application in the two fields described above.