Theoretical Modeling of Intra- and Inter-molecular Charge Transport

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: This thesis focuses on theoretical study of charge transportproperties in molecular systems. The understanding of the transportprocess and mechanism in molecular systems is essential forthe design of new functional molecular materials and molecularelectronic devices. The molecular junctions and organic molecularcrystals have been used as the model systems to highlight the usefulnessof theoretical modelling. A molecular junction is a system that consists ofone or several molecules sandwiched between two electrodes.The charge transport in molecular junctions is a very complex processthat is affected by the interaction between molecules and electrodes,the surroundings, as well as electron-electron (e-e) andelectron-phonon (e-p) couplings. When the molecule-electrode couplingis strong, the transport process can be very quick. If the e-p couplingis weak, the inelastic tunneling has only negligible contributions to thetotal current and the elastic electron tunneling plays the dominant role.Furthermore, the hopping process becomes dominant in the case of strong e-pcoupling, for which the geometric relaxation of the molecule needsto be considered. In this thesis, we have examined these three kinds oftransport processes separately.The first studied system is a molecular junction consisting of aromaticallycoupled bimolecules. Its elastic electron tunneling property is simulatedusing Green's functional theory at density functional theory level.The dependence of the conductance of bimolecular junctions on the vertical distances,horizontal distances and the tilt angles has been systematically studied. Theinelastic electron tunneling spectra (IETS) of molecular junctions have beencalculated for several systems that were experimentally measured with conflictingresults and controversial assignments. Our calculations provide the reliableassignments for the experimental spectra and revealed unprecedented detailsabout the molecular conformations within the junctions under different conditions.It demonstrates that a combined theoretical and experimental IETS study is capableof accurately determining the structure of a single molecule inside the junction.The hopping process is a dominant charge transfer process in organic molecularcrystals. We have studied the charge transport ability of four kinds of n-typeorganic semiconductor materials to find out the related structure-to-propertyrelationship. It is done by adopting the quantum charge transfer rate equationcombined with the random walk approach.