In a breakthrough experiment, Awschalom et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 68, 3092 (1992)] have demonstrated that the antiferromagnetic core in ferritin resonates between two states with oppositely directed Néel vectors, making it the first observation of MQC. A theory has been developed for this resonance including the effect of the 100 or so 57Fe nuclear spins expected in each ferritin core. Since the hyperfine coupling is known to be ~ 68 MHz and the MQC frequency is ~ 1 MHz, the degeneracy of the Néel states, and with it, the MQC resonance, is destroyed in all ferritin particles except those with zero total staggered nuclear spin. From the measured size of X(ω), the energy being absorbed by the ferritin is at least 4000 times larger than the maximum permissible. Hence, the true importance of these experiments lies not in the narrow issue of MQC, but in the disproof of long cherished theoretical conservation laws.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)