Transition voltages of vacuum-spaced and molecular junctions with Ag and Pt electrodes

Kunlin Wu, Meilin Bai, Stefano Sanvito, Shimin Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The transition voltage of vacuum-spaced and molecular junctions constructed with Ag and Pt electrodes is investigated by non-equilibrium Green's function formalism combined with density functional theory. Our calculations show that, similarly to the case of Au-vacuum-Au previously studied, the transition voltages of Ag and Pt metal-vacuum-metal junctions with atomic protrusions on the electrode surface are determined by the local density of states of the p-type atomic orbitals of the protrusion. Since the energy position of the Pt 6p atomic orbitals is higher than that of the 5p/6p of Ag and Au, the transition voltage of Pt-vacuum-Pt junctions is larger than that of both Ag-vacuum-Ag and Au-vacuum-Au junctions. When one moves to analyzing asymmetric molecular junctions constructed with biphenyl thiol as central molecule, then the transition voltage is found to depend on the specific bonding site for the sulfur atom in the thiol group. In particular agreement with experiments, where the largest transition voltage is found for Ag and the smallest for Pt, is obtained when one assumes S binding at the hollow-bridge site on the Ag/Au(111) surface and at the adatom site on the Pt(111) one. This demonstrates the critical role played by the linker-electrode binding geometry in determining the transition voltage of devices made of conjugated thiol molecules. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)014707
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 7 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): FIC/2010/08
Acknowledgements: This project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61321001) and the MOST of China (Grant Nos. 2011CB933001 and 2013CB933404). S. S. thanks additional funding support from the European Research Council (QUEST project), by KAUST (FIC/2010/08), and by AMBER.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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