Silicon MEMS cantilevers coated with a 200 nm thin layer of the molecular spin crossover complex [Fe(H2B(pz)2)2(phen)] (H2B(pz)2 = dihydrobis(pyrazolyl)borate and phen = 1,10-phenantroline) were actuated using an external magnetic field and their resonance frequency was tracked by means of integrated piezoresistive detection. The light-induced spin-state switching of the molecules from the ground low spin to the metastable high spin state at 10 K led to a well-reproducible shift of the cantilever's resonance frequency (Δfr = −0.52 Hz). Control experiments at different temperatures using coated as well as uncoated devices along with simple calculations support the assignment of this effect to the spin transition. This latter translates into changes in mechanical behavior of the cantilever due to the strong spin-state/lattice coupling. A guideline for the optimization of device parameters is proposed so as to efficiently harness molecular scale movements for large-scale mechanical work, thus paving the road for nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) actuators based on molecular materials.

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