Unexpected Light-Induced Thermal Hysteresis in Matrix Embedded Low Cooperative Spin Crossover Microparticles
The embedding of spin-crossover micro- or nanocrystals in various surroundings dramatically changes their functionalities based on first-order spin transitions. The dampening of their internal cooperativity, together with introducing a new kind of interactions occurring at interfaces between spin-crossover particles and their environment, results in spectacular effects, as an enhanced hysteresis with non-cooperative transitions. In this work, we deal with the influence of the embedding matrix
... embedding matrix on the light-induced thermal hysteresis (LITH) in the case of spin-crossover microparticles of Fe(phen)2(NCS)2. Despite the low cooperativity of this compound, the competition between the continuous photoexcitation towards the metastable high spin state and the relaxation down to low spin ground state leads to a light-induced thermal hysteresis, with a quasi-static width of around 10 K. This unexpected hysteresis is explained by considering a switch-on/cutoff mechanism of the particle–matrix interactions in the framework of a mean-field approach based on negative external pressures, with Gaussian distributed variations and of an Ising-like model with various interactions with the environment. Additional first-order reversal curves measurements and corresponding calculated distributions are in line with relaxations under light and confirm the existence of a non-kinetic LITH.