Date of this Version
PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS VOLUME 93, NUMBER 8
Molecular beam Stern-Gerlach deflection measurements on Nb clusters (NbN, N <100) show that at very low temperatures the odd-N clusters deflect due to a single unpaired spin that is uncoupled from the cluster. At higher temperatures the spin is coupled and no deflections are observed. Spin uncoupling occurs concurrently with the transition to the recently found ferroelectric state, which has superconductor characteristics [Science 300, 1265 (2003)]. Spin uncoupling (also seen in V, Ta, and Al clusters) is analogous to the reduction of spin-relaxation rates observed in bulk superconductors below Tc.