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Physics  1997 

Macroscopic Quantum Coherence in Ferrimagnets

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.56.738

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We study macroscopic quantum coherence (MQC) in small ferrimagnets. Through semi-classical calculations we show that even a small uncompensated moment has a drastic effect on MQC. In particular, there is a rapid crossover to a regime where the MQC tunnel splitting is equal to that obtained for a ferromagnet, even though the system is still an antiferromagnet for all other aspects. We calculate this tunnel splitting via instanton methods and compare it with numerical evaluations. As an application we re-examine the experimental evidence for MQC in ferritin and show that even though the uncompensated moment of ferritin is small it greatly modifies the MQC behavior. We also discuss the implications of our results for MQC in molecular magnets.


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