Vibrationally coupled electron transport in single-molecule junctions: The importance of electron–hole pair creation processes


  • R. Härtle,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physics, Columbia University, West 120th Street, New York, NY, USA
    • Corresponding author: Email:, Phone: +01-212-854-6712, Fax: +01-212-854-3379

    Search for more papers by this author
  • U. Peskin,

    1. Schulich Faculty of Chemistry and the Lise Meitner Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry, Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. Thoss

    1. Institut für Theoretische Physik und Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Molekulare Materialien, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author


Vibrationally coupled electron transport through single-molecule junctions is considered. Reviewing our recent theoretical work, we show that electron–hole pair creation processes represent a key to understand the vibrational excitation characteristic of a single-molecule contact. Moreover, these processes can lead to a number of interesting transport phenomena such as, for example, negative differential resistance, rectification, mode-selective vibrational excitation, and a pronounced temperature dependence of the electrical current. Thus, electron–hole pair creation processes are crucial to elucidate the basic mechanisms of vibrationally coupled electron transport through a single-molecule contact, despite the fact that these processes do not directly contribute to the electrical current that is flowing through the junction.