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Heat dissipation and its relation to thermopower in single-molecule junctions

  • Zotti, Linda Angela
  • Bürkle, Marius
  • Pauly, Fabian
  • Lee, Woochul
  • Kim, Kyeongtae
  • Jeong, Wonho
  • Asai, Yoshihiro
  • Reddy, Pramod
  • Cuevas, Juan Carlos
Published Article
Publication Date
Jul 31, 2013
Submission Date
Jul 31, 2013
DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/16/1/015004
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Motivated by recent experiments [Lee et al. Nature 498, 209 (2013)], we present here a detailed theoretical analysis of the Joule heating in current-carrying single-molecule junctions. By combining the Landauer approach for quantum transport with ab initio calculations, we show how the heating in the electrodes of a molecular junction is determined by its electronic structure. In particular, we show that in general the heat is not equally dissipated in both electrodes of the junction and it depends on the bias polarity (or equivalently on the current direction). These heating asymmetries are intimately related to the thermopower of the junction as both these quantities are governed by very similar principles. We illustrate these ideas by analyzing single-molecule junctions based on benzene derivatives with different anchoring groups. The close relation between heat dissipation and thermopower provides general strategies for exploring fundamental phenomena such as the Peltier effect or the impact of quantum interference effects on the Joule heating of molecular transport junctions.

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