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Prediction of the development of structural ordering associated with the glass transition in metallic liquids has eluded scientists since the discovery of metallic glasses in 1960. Indeed, this issue presents a fundamental problem of incommensurate time scales, since the cooling rates generally required for the formation of a metallic glass from a liquid (103 K/s) are too high to allow for direct experimental measurement of structural dynamics, but too low to permit direct simulation through molecular dynamics methods (generally limited to 108 K/s).
NaAs has been discovered as an effective solvent for RFeAsO (R = rare earth) superconducting compounds and enables the growth of sizeable high quality single crystals by the solution method at ambient pressure. Solution growth is a versatile, rapid technique for growth of single crystals. Much like preparing rock candy, the technique relies on having the right solution that dissolves and then precipitates the compound of interest.
The discovery that transition-metal clusters can behave like tiny “magnets,” i.e. single-molecule magnets (SMMs), opens up the opportunity for their applications in information storage, quantum computing, and molecular spintronics devices. A major objective of our synthetic project is on the design and synthesis of such molecular nanomagnets, based on inorganic polyoxometalate ligands given the rigidity (which infers predictability) and diversity (which allows rational chemical design) of their ligand environments.