Currents across thin insulators are commonly taken as single electrons moving across classically forbidden regions; this independent particle picture is well-known to describe most tunneling phenomena. Examining quantum transport from a different perspective, i.e., by explicit treatment of electron-electron interactions, we evaluate different single particle approximations with specific application to tunneling in metal-molecule-metal junctions. We find maximizing the overlap of a Slater determinant composed of single-particle states to the many-body current-carrying state is more important than energy minimization for defining single-particle approximations in a system with open boundary conditions. Thus the most suitable single particle effective potential is not one commonly in use by electronic structure methods, such as the Hartree-Fock or Kohn-Sham approximations.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics