Effect of crystalline disorder on quantum tunneling in the single-molecule magnet Mn-12 benzoate.
We report a detailed study of the effects that crystalline disorder has on the magnetic relaxation and quantum tunneling of Mn-12 benzoate clusters. Thanks to the absence of interstitial molecules in the crystal structure of this molecular compound, we have been able to isolate the influence of long-range crystalline disorder. For this, we compare results obtained under two extreme situations: a crystalline sample and a nearly amorphous material. The results show that crystalline disorder affects little the anisotropy, magnetic relaxation, and quantum tunneling of these materials. It follows that disorder is not a necessary ingredient for the existence of magnetic quantum tunneling. The results unveil, however, a subtle influence of crystallinity via the modification of the symmetry of dipole-dipole interactions. The faster tunneling rates measured for the amorphous material are accounted for by a narrower distribution of dipolar bias in this material, as compared with the crystalline sample.