INSTITUTO DE QUIMICA, FISICA DE LOS MATERIALES, MEDIOAMBIENTE Y ENERGIA
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Electron transport in real time from first-principles
MORZAN, URIEL N.; SCHERLIS, DAMIÁN A.; RAMÍREZ, FRANCISCO F.; GONZÁLEZ LEBRERO, MARIANO C.
JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS
AMER INST PHYSICS
Año: 2017 vol. 146
While the vast majority of calculations reported on molecular conductance have been based on the static non-equilibrium Green’s function formalism combined with density functional theory (DFT), in recent years a few time-dependent approaches to transport have started to emerge. Among these, the driven Liouville-von Neumann equation [C. G. Sánchez et al., J. Chem. Phys. 124, 214708 (2006)] is a simple and appealing route relying on a tunable rate parameter, which has been explored in the context of semi-empirical methods. In the present study, we adapt this formulation to a density functional theory framework and analyze its performance. In particular, it is implemented in an efficient all-electron DFT code with Gaussian basis functions, suitable for quantum-dynamics simulations of large molecular systems. At variance with the case of the tight-binding calculations reported in the literature, we find that now the initial perturbation to drive the system out of equilibrium plays a fundamental role in the stability of the electron dynamics. The equation of motion used in previous tight-binding implementations with massive electrodes has to be modified to produce a stable and unidirectional current during time propagation in time-dependent DFT simulations using much smaller leads. Moreover, we propose a procedure to get rid of the dependence of the current-voltage curves on the rate parameter. This method is employed to obtain the current-voltage characteristic of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons of different lengths, with very promising prospects.