Dysprosium is used to coat the surface of hard drive platters to enhance their magnetic storage capabilities

Facts about Dysprosium:

  • Dysprosium: Silvery white
  • Fun fact about Dysprosium: Because of the many attempts required to isolate it, Dysprosium was named from the Greek word Dysprositos, meaning "hard to get".
  • Chemical symbol: Dy
  • Atomic number: 66

A crystal structure containing Dysprosium:

Image showing Dysprosium (cyan) sandwiched between two 1,2,4-tri-t-butylcyclopentadienyl ligands

Facts about this structure:

  • Formula: C34 H58 Cl Dy
  • Structure name: bis(1,2,4-tri-t-butylcyclopentadienyl)-chloro-dysprosium(iii)
  • Fun fact about the structure: The roughly cylindrical shape of the molecule helps create its record-breaking magnetic properties due to structural anisotropy.
  • CSD refcode: BAWLIX (What's this?)
  • Associated publication: Richard Layfield, Fu-Sheng Guo, Benjamin Day, Yan-Cong Chen, Ming-Liang Tong, Akseli Mansikamäkki,  Angewandte Chemie, International Edition, 2017, 56, 11445, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201705426

More info:

To further miniaturize electronics, smaller and smaller magnetic storage materials must be used, including single molecules with magnetic memory. Single molecule magnets exhibit magnetic properties at low temperatures where thermal fluctuations are low. These low temperatures are expensive and difficult to attain, prohibitively so for commercial applications, because they require the use of liquid helium. This Dysprosium sandwich complex exhibits magnetism at an astonishingly high temperature of 80 K, which can be reached with the much more accessible liquid nitrogen.

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A visualisation showing the structure containing Dysprosium alongside other structures published in the same scientific article: