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Non-trivial length dependence of the conductance and negative differential resistance in atomic molecular wires

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Article number455203
Journal publication date12/11/2008
Journal number45
Number of pages5
Original languageEnglish


We study the electronic and transport properties of two novel molecular wires made of atomic chains of carbon atoms (polyynes) capped with either benzene-thiols or pyridines. While both molecules are structurally similar, the electrical conductance of benzene-thiol-capped chains attached to gold electrodes is found to be much higher than that of pyridine-capped chains. We predict that the conductance is almost independent of molecular length, which suggests that these molecules could be ideal molecular wires for sub-10 nm circuitry. Both systems exhibit negative differential resistance (NDR) but its origin and characteristics depend on the type of molecule. We find a novel type of NDR mechanism produced by the movement of the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) resonance with bias. We also show that by gating the pyridine-capped molecules it is possible to make the NDR disappear and dramatically modify the I-V characteristics and the length dependence.