A Quantum Chemical View of Molecular and Nano-Electronics

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: This dissertation presents a generalized quantum chemical approach for electron transport in molecular electronic devices based on Green's function scattering theory. It allows to describe both elastic and inelastic electron transport processes at first principles levels of theory, and to treat devices with metal electrodes either chemically or physically bonded to the molecules on equal footing. Special attention has been paid to understand the molecular length dependence of current-voltage characteristics of molecular junctions. Effects of external electric fields have been taken into account non-perturbatively, allowing to treat electrochemical gate-controlled single molecular field effect transistors for the first time. Inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy of molecular junctions has been simulated by including electron-vibration couplings. The calculated spectra are often in excellent agreement with experiment, revealing detailed structure information about the molecule and the bonding between molecule and metal electrodes that are not accessible in the experiment.An effective central insertion scheme (CIS) has been introduced to study electronic structures of nanomaterials at first principles levels. It takes advantage of the partial periodicity of a system and uses the fact that long range interaction in a big system dies out quickly. CIS method can save significant computational time without loss of accuracy and has been successfully applied to calculate electronic structures of one- , two- , and three-dimensional nanomaterials, such as sub-116 nm long conjugated polymers, sub-200nm long single-walled carbon nanotubes, sub-60 base pairs DNA segments, nanodiamondoids of sub-7.3nm in diameter and Si-nanoparticles of sub-6.5nm in diameter at the hybrid density functional theory level. The largest system under investigation consists of 100,000 electrons. The formation of energy bands and quantum confinement effects in these nanostructures have been revealed. Electron transport properties of polymers, SWCNTs and DNA have also been calculated.