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Breaking The Simple Proportionality Between Molecular Conductances And Charge Transfer Rates

Ravindra Venkatramani, Emil Wierzbinski, David H. Waldeck, David N. Beratan

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A theoretical framework is presented to describe and to understand the observed relationship between molecular conductances and charge transfer rates across molecular bridges as a function of length, structure, and charge transfer mechanism. The approach uses a reduced density matrix formulation with a phenomenological treatment of system–bath couplings to describe charge transfer kinetics and a Green's function based Landauer–Buttiker method to describe steady-state currents. Application of the framework is independent of the transport regime and includes bath-induced decoherence effects. This model shows that the relationship between molecular conductances and charge transfer rates follows a power-law. The nonlinear rate–conductance relationship is shown to arise from differences in the charge transport barrier heights and from differences in environmental decoherence rates for the two experiments. This model explains otherwise puzzling correlations between molecular conductances and electrochemical kinetics.