A major roadblock to fully realizing molecular electronic devices is the ability to control the properties of each molecule in the device. Herein we report the control of the magnetic properties of single-molecule magnets (SMMs), which can be used in memory devices, by using a photo-isomerizable diarthylenthene ligand. Photo-isomerization of the diarylethene ligand bridging two manganese salen complexes with visible light caused a significant change in the SMM behavior due to opening of the six-membered ring of diarylethene ligand, accompanied by reorganization of the entire molecule. The ring-opening activated the frequency-dependent magnetization of the complex. Our results are a major step towards the realization of molecular memory devices composed of SMMs because the SMM behaviour can be turned on and off simply by irradiating the molecule.
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