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The Limits of Inelastic Tunneling Spectroscopy for Identifying Transport Pathways

submitted on 07.03.2020, 20:16 and posted on 09.03.2020, 13:03 by Michael Deffner, Carmen Herrmann
Inelastic Electron Tunneling Spectroscopy (IETS) is a powerful tool to study the properties of molecular junctions. In particular, it is considered useful for extracting information on electron transport pathways. We explore the limits of this approach by comparing computed interatomic transmission pathways with IETS intensities for different molecular junctions, employing a new efficient implementation for evaluating IETS intensities via the mode-tracking algorithm. We find that while a correlation be- tween pathways and IETS intensities indeed holds when vibrations are clearly localized on atoms off the transport pathway, there is no such correlation for molecules with less localized vibrations, even if transport pathways only sample part of the molecule, and even if a statistical analysis over the vibrational modes is made. This could indicate that the significance of IETS signals for transport pathways is limited to molecules with localized vibrational modes.


Cluster of Excellence “Advanced Imaging of Matter” of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - EXC 2056 - project ID 390715994


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University of Hamburg



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest