Quantitative Interpretations of Break Junction Conductance Histograms in Molecular Electron Transport

Robert Quan, Christopher S. Pitler, Mark A. Ratner, Matthew G. Reuter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We develop theoretical and computational tools for extracting quantitative molecular information from experimental conductance histograms for electron transport through single-molecule break junctions. These experimental setups always measure a combination of molecular conductance and direct electrode-electrode tunneling; our derivations explicitly incorporate the effects of such background tunneling. Validation of our models to simulated data shows that background tunneling is crucial for quantitative analyses (even in cases where it appears to be qualitatively negligible), and comparison to experimental data is favorable. Finally, we generalize these ideas to the case of molecules with a destructive interference feature and discuss potential signatures for interference in a conductance histogram.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7704-7713
Number of pages10
JournalACS nano
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 28 2015


  • break junctions
  • conductance histograms
  • molecular electronics
  • tunneling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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