Light-induced current in molecular tunneling junctions excited with intense shaped pulses

B. D. Fainberg*, M. Jouravlev, A. Nitzan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

A theory for light-induced current by strong optical pulses in molecular tunneling junctions is described. We consider a molecular bridge represented by its highest occupied and lowest unoccupied levels. We take into account two types of couplings between the molecule and the metal leads: electron transfer that gives rise to net current in the biased junction and energy transfer between the molecule and electron-hole excitations in the leads. Using a Markovian approximation, we derive a closed system of equations for the expectation values of the relevant variables: populations and molecular polarization that are binary, and exciton populations that are tetradic in the annihilation and creation operators for electrons in the molecular states. We have proposed an optical control method using chirped pulses for enhancing charge transfer in unbiased junctions where the bridging molecule is characterized by a strong charge-transfer transition. An approximate analytical solution of the resulting dynamical equations is supported by a full numerical solution. When energy transfer between the molecule and electron-hole excitations in the leads is absent, the optical control problem for inducing charge transfer with a linearly chirped pulse can be reduced to the Landau-Zener transition to a decaying level. When the chirp is fast with respect to the rate of the electron transfer, the Landau theory is recovered. The proposed control mechanism is potentially useful for developing optoelectronic single-electron devices with optical gating based on molecular nanojunctions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number245329
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume76
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Dec 2007

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