Tracing electronic pathways in molecules by using inelastic tunneling spectroscopy

Alessandro Troisi, Jeremy M. Beebe, Laura B. Picraux, Roger D. Van Zee, Duncan R. Stewart, Mark A. Ratner, James G. Kushmerick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Using inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy (IETS) to measure the vibronic structure of nonequilibrium molecular transport, aided by a quantitative interpretation scheme based on Green's function-density functional theory methods, we are able to characterize the actual pathways that the electrons traverse when moving through a molecule in a molecular transport junction. We show that the IETS observations directly index electron tunneling pathways along the given normal coordinates of the molecule. One can then interpret the maxima in the IETS spectrum in terms of the specific paths that the electrons follow as they traverse the molecular junction. Therefore, IETS measurements not only prove (by the appearance of molecular vibrational frequencies in the spectrum) that the tunneling charges, in fact, pass through the molecule, but also can be used to determine the transport pathways and how they change with the geometry and placement of molecules in junctions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14255-14259
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - Sep 4 2007


  • Molecular electronics
  • Molecular junctions
  • Molecular transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Tracing electronic pathways in molecules by using inelastic tunneling spectroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this