Towards a First-Principles Evaluation of Transport Mechanisms in Molecular Wires

2020-06-30T05:11:48Z (GMT) by Susanne kröncke Carmen Herrmann
Understanding charge transport through molecular wires is important for nanoscale electronics and biochemistry. Our goal is to establish a simple first-principles protocol for predicting the charge transport mechanism in such wires, in particular the crossover from coherent tunneling for short wires to incoherent hopping for longer wires. This protocol is based on a combination of density-functional theory with a polarizable continuum model introduced by Kaupp et al. for mixed-valence molecules, which we had previously found to work well for length-dependent charge delocalization in such systems. We combine this protocol with a new charge delocalization measure tailored for molecular wires, and we show that it can predict the tunneling-to hopping transition length with a maximum error of one subunit in five sets of molecular wires studied experimentally in molecular junctions at room temperature. This suggests that the protocol is also well suited for estimating the extent of hopping sites as relevant, e.g., for the intermediate tunneling-hopping regime in DNA.