Atomic scale design of nanostructures

J. Bernholc, W. Lu, S. M. Nakhmanson, P. H. Hahn, V. Meunier, M. Buongiorno Nardelli, W. G. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recent advances in theoretical methods and high performance computing allow for reliable first-principles predictions of complex nanostructured materials and devices. This paper describes three examples: (i) non-equilibrium electron transport through molecular junctions, as a stepping stone for the design of molecular-scale devices and for integration of biomolecules with Si technology; (ii) polarization and piezoelectric properties of PVDF and related polymers; and (iii) the many-body optical spectrum of water. For the molecular junction, our results provide a qualitative picture and quantitative understanding of the mechanism leading to negative differential resistance for a large class of small molecules. For ferroelectric polymers, the calculations show that their polarization is described by cooperative, quantum-mechanical interactions between polymer chains. Nevertheless, the ab initio results lead to a simple parameterization of polarization as a function of copolymer concentration. Finally, our calculations explain the well-known redshift in the fundamental absorption of water as due to exciton delocalization upon aggregation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Physics
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jan 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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