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1.  Transmission eigenvalue distributions in highly conductive molecular junctions 
Background: The transport through a quantum-scale device may be uniquely characterized by its transmission eigenvalues τn. Recently, highly conductive single-molecule junctions (SMJ) with multiple transport channels (i.e., several τn > 0) have been formed from benzene molecules between Pt electrodes. Transport through these multichannel SMJs is a probe of both the bonding properties at the lead–molecule interface and of the molecular symmetry.
Results: We use a many-body theory that properly describes the complementary wave–particle nature of the electron to investigate transport in an ensemble of Pt–benzene–Pt junctions. We utilize an effective-field theory of interacting π-electrons to accurately model the electrostatic influence of the leads, and we develop an ab initio tunneling model to describe the details of the lead–molecule bonding over an ensemble of junction geometries. We also develop a simple decomposition of transmission eigenchannels into molecular resonances based on the isolated resonance approximation, which helps to illustrate the workings of our many-body theory, and facilitates unambiguous interpretation of transmission spectra.
Conclusion: We confirm that Pt–benzene–Pt junctions have two dominant transmission channels, with only a small contribution from a third channel with τn << 1. In addition, we demonstrate that the isolated resonance approximation is extremely accurate and determine that transport occurs predominantly via the HOMO orbital in Pt–benzene–Pt junctions. Finally, we show that the transport occurs in a lead–molecule coupling regime where the charge carriers are both particle-like and wave-like simultaneously, requiring a many-body description.
PMCID: PMC3304317  PMID: 22428095
benzene–platinum junction; effective-field theory; isolated-resonance approximation; lead–molecule interface; many-body theory; multichannel; quantum transport; single-molecule junction; transmission eigenchannels
2.  When “small” terms matter: Coupled interference features in the transport properties of cross-conjugated molecules 
Quantum interference effects offer opportunities to tune the electronic and thermoelectric response of a quantum-scale device over orders of magnitude. Here we focus on single-molecule devices, in which interference features may be strongly affected by both chemical and electronic modifications to the system. Although not always desirable, such a susceptibility offers insight into the importance of “small” terms, such as through-space coupling and many-body charge–charge correlations. Here we investigate the effect of these small terms using different Hamiltonian models with Hückel, gDFTB and many-body theory to calculate the transport through several single-molecule junctions, finding that terms that are generally thought to only slightly perturb the transport instead produce significant qualitative changes in the transport properties. In particular, we show that coupling of multiple interference features in cross-conjugated molecules by through-space coupling will lead to splitting of the features, as can correlation effects. The degeneracy of multiple interference features in cross-conjugated molecules appears to be significantly more sensitive to perturbations than those observed in equivalent cyclic systems and this needs to be considered if such supernodes are required for molecular thermoelectric devices.
PMCID: PMC3257512  PMID: 22259770
gDFTB; Hückel model; many-body effects; molecular electronics; quantum interference; thermoelectrics; topology

Results 1-2 (2)