We report on the synthesis, crystal structure and magnetic characterisation of the trinuclear, fluoride-bridged, molecular nanomagnet [Dy(hfac)3(H2O)–CrF2(py)4–Dy(hfac)3(NO3)] (1) (hfacH = 1,1,1,5,5,5-hexafluoroacetylacetone, py = pyridine) and a closely related dinuclear species [Dy(hfac)4–CrF2(py)4]·½CHCl3 (2). Element-specific magnetisation curves obtained on 1 by X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) allow us to directly observe the field-induced transition from a ferrimagnetic to a ferromagnetic arrangement of the Dy and Cr magnetic moments. By fitting a spin-Hamiltonian model to the XMCD data we extract a weak antiferromagnetic exchange coupling of j = −0.18 cm−1 between the DyIII and CrIII ions. The value found from XMCD is consistent with SQUID magnetometry and inelastic neutron scattering measurements. Furthermore, alternating current susceptibility and muon-spin relaxation measurements reveal that 1 shows thermally activated relaxation of magnetisation with a small effective barrier for magnetisation reversal of Δeff = 3 cm−1. Density-functional theory calculations show that the Dy–Cr couplings originate from superexchange via the fluoride bridges.
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