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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/330

Title: Theoretical descriptions of electron transport through single molecules: developing design tools for molecular electronic devices
Authors: Carroll, Natalie R.
Keywords: Chemistry;Electron transport;Electronic apparatus and appliances
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2004
Abstract: There are vast numbers of organic compounds that could be considered for use in molecular electronics. Hence there is a need for efficient and economical screening tools. Here we develop theoretical methods to describe electron transport through individual molecules, the ultimate goal of which is to establish design tools for molecular electronic devices. To successfully screen a compound for its use as a device component requires a proper representation of the quantum mechanics of electron transmission. In this work we report the development of tools for the description of electron transmission that are: Charge self-consistent, valid in the presence of a finite applied potential field and (in some cases) explicitly time-dependent. In addition, the tools can be extended to any molecular system, including biosystems, because they are free of restrictive parameterizations. Two approaches are explored: (1) correlation of substituent parameter values (σ), (commonly found in organic chemistry textbooks) to properties associated with electron transport, (2) explicit tracking of the time evolution of the wave function of a nonstationary electron. In (1) we demonstrate that the σ correlate strongly with features of the charge migration process, establishing them as useful indicators of electronic properties. In (2) we employ a time-dependent description of electron transport through molecular junctions. To date, the great majority of theoretical treatments of electron transport in molecular junctions have been of the time-independent variety. Time dependence, however, is critical to such properties as switching speeds in binary computer components and alternating current conductance, so we explored methods based on time-dependent quantum mechanics. A molecular junction is modeled as a single molecule sandwiched between two clusters of close-packed metal atoms or other donor and acceptor groups. The time dependence of electron transport is investigated by initially localizing an electron on the donor and following the time development of the corresponding non-stationary wavefunction of the time-independent Hamiltonian. We demonstrate that the time-dependent treatment of electron transport predicts physically intuitive results, while providing insights not available from time-independent methods.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/330
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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