Local Atomic Heat Currents and Classical Interference in Single-Molecule Heat Conduction

Renai Chen, Inon Sharony, Abraham Nitzan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider interference effects in vibrational heat conduction across single-molecule junctions. Previous theoretical descriptions of such effects have relied on the quantum Landauer-type expression for heat transport by harmonic molecules, and such observations are sometimes termed "quantum interference". Here we demonstrate via classical atomistic simulations of heat conduction in benzenedithiol single-molecule junctions that the room-temperature effect is essentially classical. In fact, classical simulations and quantum evaluation of room-temperature heat conduction in these systems yield similar results. Simulations of para-, meta-, and ortho-connected benzenedithiols between gold substrates yield conductions in the order para > ortho > meta, which is similar to trends found in the electronic conduction of these structures. The (essentially classical) interference origin of this ordering is indicated by the similarity of the quantum and classical behaviors of these systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4261-4268
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - 4 Jun 2020


FundersFunder number
Israel-U.S. Binational Science Foundation
U.S. National Science Foundation
National Science FoundationCHE1665291, 1665291
United States - Israel Binational Science Foundation
University of Pennsylvania
Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftTH 820/11-1


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