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Single Molecule Rectification Induced by the Asymmetry of a Single Frontier Orbital

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journal contribution
posted on 12.08.2014, 00:00 by Wendu Ding, Christian F. A. Negre, Leslie Vogt, Victor S. Batista
A mechanism for electronic rectification under low bias potentials is elucidated for the prototype molecule HS-phenyl-amide-phenyl-SH. We apply density functional theory (DFT) combined with the nonequilibrium Green’s function formalism (NEGF), as implemented in the TranSIESTA computational code to calculate transport properties. We find that a single frontier orbital, the closest to the Fermi level, provides the dominant contribution to the overall transmission and determines the current. The asymmetric distribution of electron density in that orbital leads to rectification in charge transport due to its asymmetric response, shifting toward (or away from) the Fermi level under forward (or reverse) applied bias voltage. These findings provide a simple design principle to suppress recombination in molecular assemblies of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) where interfacial electron transfer is mediated by frontier orbitals with asymmetric character.