Current-driven dynamics in molecular-scale devices

Tamar Seideman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


We review recent theoretical work on current-triggered processes in molecular-scale devices - a field at the interface between solid state physics and chemical dynamics with potential applications in diverse areas, including artificial molecular machines, unimolecular transport, surface nanochemistry and nanolithography. The qualitative physics underlying current-triggered dynamics is first discussed and placed in context with several well-studied phenomena with which it shares aspects. A theory for modelling these dynamics is next formulated within a time-dependent scattering approach. Our end result provides useful insight into the system properties that determine the reaction outcome as well as a computationally convenient framework for numerical realization. The theory is applied to study single-molecule surface reactions induced by a scanning tunnelling microscope and current-triggered dynamics in single-molecule transistors. We close with a discussion of several potential applications of current-induced dynamics in molecular devices and several opportunities for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R521-R549
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 16 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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