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A new mechanism is proposed to explain the origin of negative differential resistance (NDR) in a strongly coupled single molecule-metal junction. A first-principles quantum transport calculation in a Fe-terpyridine linker molecule sandwiched between a pair of gold electrodes is presented. Upon increasing the applied bias, it is found that a new phase in the broken symmetry wave function of the molecule emerges from the mixing of occupied and unoccupied molecular orbitals. As a consequence, a nonlinear change in the coupling between the molecule and the lead is evolved resulting in NDR. This model can be used to explain NDR in other classes of metal-molecule junction devices.

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© 2008 American Physical Society. Article deposited here in compliance with publisher policy. Publisher's version of record:

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Physical Review Letters


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Physics Commons



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