Journal of Molecular Modeling

, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 4173–4180 | Cite as

Conformation-dependent conductance through a molecular break junction

  • Bartłomiej M. SzyjaEmail author
  • Huu Chuong Nguyen
  • Daniel Kosov
  • Nikos L. Doltsinis
Original Paper


Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations have been performed of a gold—1,4-benzenedithiol (BDT)—gold nanojunction under mechanical stress. For three different pulling rates between 10 and 40 m s-1, it is found that the nanowire always ruptures between the second and third Au atom from the thiol sulfur. Larger rupture forces and longer extensions are required at higher pulling rates and vice versa. The electrical conductance was calculated along a pulling trajectory using the DFT-NEGF method to study the effect of thermal and stress-induced structural changes on the electrical transport properties. While the mechanically induced stretching of the junction is seen to lower the time-averaged conductance, thermal conformational changes are capable of altering the conductance by one order of magnitude. No single geometric quantity could be identified as the main contributor to the conductance fluctuations. Small modulations, however, can be explained in terms of C=C double bond vibrations in the BDT molecule. The dependence of the conductance on different geometric variables has further been investigated systematically by performing constrained geometry optimizations along a number of angle and dihedral coordinates. The largest changes in the conductance are observed when the Au-S-C angle and the Au-S-C-C dihedral are simultaneously constrained.

Online Abstract Figure

Conductance changes upon mechanical stretching of Au/BDT system


Benzenedithiol Conductance External force Gold Nano-wire Density functional theory Non-equilibrium Green’s function 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bartłomiej M. Szyja
    • 1
    Email author
  • Huu Chuong Nguyen
    • 1
  • Daniel Kosov
    • 2
  • Nikos L. Doltsinis
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Solid State Theory, Department of PhysicsUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.School of Engineering and Physical ScienceJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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