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J Phys Condens Matter. 2012 Oct 3;24(39):394003. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/24/39/394003. Epub 2012 Sep 11.

Vibrational heating in single-molecule switches: an energy-dependent density-of-states approach.

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Institute for Materials Science and Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials, Dresden University of Technology, D-01062 Dresden, Germany.


In recent experiments, it has been shown that the switching rate of single-molecule switches can show a rather complicated dependence on the applied bias voltage. Here, we discuss a minimal model which describes the switching process in terms of inelastic scattering processes of the tunneling electron by specific molecular vibrations. One important point is the introduction of an energy-dependent electronic density of states around the Fermi energy. The influence of different model parameters on the switching rate is studied and we show that the inclusion of a variable density of states allows us to understand the non-monotonic behavior of the switching rate observed in some experiments.

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