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1.  Electronic and transport properties of kinked graphene 
Local curvature, or bending, of a graphene sheet is known to increase the chemical reactivity presenting an opportunity for templated chemical functionalisation. Using first-principles calculations based on density functional theory (DFT), we investigate the reaction barrier reduction for the adsorption of atomic hydrogen at linear bends in graphene. We find a significant barrier lowering (≈15%) for realistic radii of curvature (≈20 Å) and that adsorption along the linear bend leads to a stable linear kink. We compute the electronic transport properties of individual and multiple kink lines, and demonstrate how these act as efficient barriers for electron transport. In particular, two parallel kink lines form a graphene pseudo-nanoribbon structure with a semimetallic/semiconducting electronic structure closely related to the corresponding isolated ribbons; the ribbon band gap translates into a transport gap for electronic transport across the kink lines. We finally consider pseudo-ribbon-based heterostructures and propose that such structures present a novel approach for band gap engineering in nanostructured graphene.
PMCID: PMC3596121  PMID: 23503656
adsorption and reactivity; curvature effects; DFT calculations; electronic transport; graphene nanoribbons; graphene nanostructuring
2.  Strong spin-filtering and spin-valve effects in a molecular V–C60–V contact 
Motivated by the recent achievements in the manipulation of C60 molecules in STM experiments, we study theoretically the structure and electronic properties of a C60 molecule in an STM tunneljunction with a magnetic tip and magnetic adatom on a Cu(111) surface using first-principles calculations. For the case of a vanadium tip/adatom, we demonstrate how spin coupling between the magnetic V atoms, mediated by the C60, can be observed in the electronic transport, which display a strong spin-filtering effect, allowing mainly majority-spin electrons to pass (>95%). Moreover, we find a significant change in the conductance between parallel and anti-parallel spin polarizations in the junction (86%) which suggests that STM experiments should be able to characterize the magnetism and spin coupling for these systems.
PMCID: PMC3458606  PMID: 23019556
fullerene; molecular spintronics; scanning tunneling microscopy; spin transport
3.  Current-induced dynamics in carbon atomic contacts 
Background: The effect of electric current on the motion of atoms still poses many questions, and several mechanisms are at play. Recently there has been focus on the importance of the current-induced nonconservative forces (NC) and Berry-phase derived forces (BP) with respect to the stability of molecular-scale contacts. Systems based on molecules bridging electrically gated graphene electrodes may offer an interesting test-bed for these effects.
Results: We employ a semi-classical Langevin approach in combination with DFT calculations to study the current-induced vibrational dynamics of an atomic carbon chain connecting electrically gated graphene electrodes. This illustrates how the device stability can be predicted solely from the modes obtained from the Langevin equation, including the current-induced forces. We point out that the gate offers control of the current, independent of the bias voltage, which can be used to explore current-induced vibrational instabilities due the NC/BP forces. Furthermore, using tight-binding and the Brenner potential we illustrate how Langevin-type molecular-dynamics calculations including the Joule heating effect for the carbon-chain systems can be performed. Molecular dynamics including current-induced forces enables an energy redistribution mechanism among the modes, mediated by anharmonic interactions, which is found to be vital in the description of the electrical heating.
Conclusion: We have developed a semiclassical Langevin equation approach that can be used to explore current-induced dynamics and instabilities. We find instabilities at experimentally relevant bias and gate voltages for the carbon-chain system.
PMCID: PMC3257507  PMID: 22259765
carbon-nanoelectronics; current-induced forces; molecular contacts; nanoscale Joule heating; semiclassical Langevin equation

Results 1-3 (3)