We suggest that inelastic electron tunnelling via molecular-scale electronics can induce a variety of fascinating dynamic processes in the molecular moiety. These include vibration, rotation, intermode energy flow and reaction. Potential applications of current-induced dynamics in molecular-scale devices range from new forms of molecular machines and approaches to enhancing the conductivity of molecular wires, to new directions in nanochemistry and nanolithography. Understanding the molecular properties that encourage current-triggered dynamics is relevant also to the design of devices that would be guaranteed to remain stable under current. We discuss the qualitative physics underlying current-driven dynamics, briefly sketch a theory developed to explore these dynamics, describe a few examples from recent and ongoing numerical work and note avenues for future research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics