Electron transfer across a thermal gradient

Galen T. Craven, Abraham Nitzan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Charge transfer is a fundamental process that underlies a multitude of phenomena in chemistry and biology. Recent advances in observing and manipulating charge and heat transport at the nanoscale, and recently developed techniques for monitoring temperature at high temporal and spatial resolution, imply the need for considering electron transfer across thermal gradients. Here, a theory is developed for the rate of electron transfer and the associated heat transport between donor-acceptor pairs located at sites of different temperatures. To this end, through application of a generalized multidimensional transition state theory, the traditional Arrhenius picture of activation energy as a single point on a free energy surface is replaced with a bithermal property that is derived from statistical weighting over all configurations where the reactant and product states are equienergetic. The flow of energy associated with the electron transfer process is also examined, leading to relations between the rate of heat exchange among the donor and acceptor sites as functions of the temperature difference and the electronic driving bias. In particular, we find that an open electron transfer channel contributes to enhanced heat transport between sites even when they are in electronic equilibrium. The presented results provide a unified theory for charge transport and the associated heat conduction between sites at different temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9421-9429
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume113
Issue number34
DOIs
StatePublished - 23 Aug 2016

Keywords

  • Electron transfer
  • Heat transfer
  • Marcus Theory
  • Thermal gradient
  • Transition state theory

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