Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

International Journal of Modern Physics B


We consider here the problem of a "giant spin", with spin quantum number S≫1, interacting with a set of microscopic spins. Interactions between the microscopic spins are ignored. This model describes the low-energy properties of magnetic grains or magnetic macromolecules (ferromagnetically or antiferromagnetically ordered) interacting with a surrounding spin environment, such as nuclear spins. Our aim is to give a general method for truncating the model to another one, valid at low energies, in which a two-level system interacts with the environmental spins, and higher energy terms are absorbed into a new set of couplings. This is done using an instanton technique. We then study the accuracy of this technique, by comparing the results for the low energy effective Hamiltonian, with results derived for the original giant spin, coupled to a macroscopic spin, using exact diagonalization techniques. We find that the low energy central spin effective Hamiltonian gives very accurate results (with increasing accuracy for large S), provided the typical coupling energies between the giant spin and the microscopic spins are not too large, and provided temperature and external field are sufficiently low. The essential limitation to the applicability of the low-energy effective Hamiltonian is just the semiclassical WKB approximation itself, which inevitably fails for very small S. Our results thus justify previous use of this effective Hamiltonian in calculations of the effects of nuclear spins on the dynamics of nanomagnetic systems.


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