Molecular transport junctions: Propensity rules for inelastic electron tunneling spectra

Alessandro Troisi*, Mark A. Ratner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


We develop a series of propensity rules for interpreting inelastic electron tunneling (IET) spectra of single-molecule transport junctions. IETS has no selection rules, such as those seen in optical, infrared, and Raman spectra, because IETS features arise not from the field-dipole interaction characterizing these other spectroscopies but from vibronic modification of the electronic levels. Expansion of the Landauer-Imry formula in Taylor series in molecular normal coordinates gives a convenient, accurate perturbation-type formula for calculating both frequency and intensity of the IETS spectrum. Expansion in a Dyson-like form permits derivation of propensity rules, both symmetry-based and pathway-deduced, allowing correlation of structure and coupling geometry with the IETS spectrum. These propensity rules work very well for the calculated spectrum of five typical molecular bridges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1784-1788
Number of pages5
JournalNano letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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