Challenges in the Atomistic Modeling of Nanoscale Junctions: Lasers, Forces, Statistics and Beyond

In this talk, I will summarize a series of theoretical and computational efforts by my group that aim at bringing theory closer to experiment in molecular electronics. I will describe our progress simulating experiments that induce femtosecond currents along nanoscale junctions by applying strong few cycle laser pulses. I will discuss efforts developing force fields and methods that now enable us to model STM experiments that measure the conductance of single-molecules as it is mechanically elongated. I will also describe our progress modeling break-junction experiments in which reliability has come from statistically sampling thousands of repeat measurements. Time permitting, I will summarize what we have learned about the possibility of using molecular junctions as a platform to develop highly discriminating single-molecule multidimensional spectroscopies. 


Ignacio joined the Chemistry faculty at the University of Rochester in July, 2013. Ignacio received his B.Sc. in chemistry from the National University of Colombia in 2001. In 2002, after completing the diploma program in condensed matter physics at The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, he moved to the University of Toronto to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical chemical physics under the guidance of Paul Brumer. Ignacio’s Ph.D. work was in the field of Quantum Control and focused on investigating the use of lasers to induce ultrafast controllable currents along nanoscale junctions. In 2008 he joined Northwestern as a postdoctoral fellow in the groups of Mark A. Ratner and George C. Schatz where he worked on the theory and simulation of single-molecule pulling experiments. He is the recipient of an ACS OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award (2017), an NSF CAREER award (2016), and a Humboldt Research Fellowship (2012).


Ignacio Franco


Thursday, April 26, 2018


3 pm - 4 pm


IACS Seminar Room