Many-body theory of electrical, thermal and optical response of molecular heterojunctions
Committee ChairStafford, Charles A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn this work, we develop a many-body theory of electronic transport through single molecule junctions based on nonequilibrium Green’s functions (NEGFs). The central quantity of this theory is the Coulomb self-energy matrix of the junction ∑(C). ∑(C) is evaluated exactly in the sequential-tunneling limit, and the correction due to finite lead-molecule tunneling is evaluated using a conserving approximation based on diagrammatic perturbation theory on the Keldysh contour. In this way, tunneling processes are included to infinite order, meaning that any approximation utilized is a truncation in the physical processes considered rather than in the order of those processes. Our theory reproduces the key features of both the Coulomb blockade and coherent transport regimes simultaneously in a single unified theory. Nonperturbative effects of intramolecular correlations are included, which are necessary to accurately describe the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO)-lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) gap, essential for a quantitative theory of transport. This work covers four major topics related to transport in single-molecule junctions. First, we use our many-body theory to calculate the nonlinear electrical response of the archetypal Au-1,4-benzenedithiol-Au junction and find irregularly shaped ‘molecular diamonds’ which have been experimentally observed in some larger molecules but which are inaccessible to existing theoretical approaches. Next, we extend our theory to include heat transport and develop an exact expression for the heat current in an interacting nanostructure. Using this result, we discover that quantum coherence can strongly enhance the thermoelectric response of a device, a result with a number of technological applications. We then develop the formalism to include multi-orbital lead-molecule contacts and multi-channel leads, both of which strongly affect the observable transport. Lastly, we include a dynamic screening correction to ∑(C) and investigate the optoelectric response of several molecular junctions.
Degree ProgramOptical Sciences