A reaction-coordinate perspective of magnetic relaxation
Understanding and utilizing the dynamic quantum properties of metal ions is the frontier of many next generation technologies. One property in particular, magnetic relaxation, is a complicated physical phenomenon that is scarcely treated in undergraduate coursework. Consequently, principles of magnetic relaxation are nearly impenetrable to starting synthetic chemists, who ultimately design the molecules that fuel new discoveries. In this Tutorial Review, we describe a new paradigm for thinking of magnetic relaxation in metal complexes in terms of a simple reaction-coordinate diagram to facilitate access to the field. We cover the main mechanisms of both spin–lattice (T1) and spin–spin (T2) relaxation times within this conceptual framework and how molecular and environmental design affects these times. Ultimately, we show that many of the scientific methods used by inorganic chemists to study and manipulate reactivity are also useful for understanding and controlling magnetic relaxation. We also describe the cutting edge of magnetic relaxation within this paradigm.