Anion Stabilization in Electrostatic Environments

Journal Of Physical Chemistry Letters 2, 682 - 688 (2011)

Anion Stabilization in Electrostatic Environments

Roberto Olivares-Amaya, Michael Stopa, Xavier Andrade, Mark A. Watson, Alan Aspuru-Guzik

Abstract Image Excess charge stabilization of molecules in metallic environments is of particular importance for fields such as molecular electronics and surface chemistry. We study the energetics of benzene and its anion between two metallic plates. We observe that orientational effects are important at small interplate separation. This leads to benzene oriented perpendicular to the gates being more stable than the parallel case due to induced dipole effects. We find that the benzene anion, known for being unstable in the gas phase, is stabilized by the plates at zero bias and an interplate distance of 21 Å. We also observe the effect of benzene under a voltage bias generated by the plates; under a negative bias, the anion becomes destabilized. We use the electron localization function to analyze the changes in electron density due to the bias. These findings suggest that image effects such as those present in nanoscale devices are able to stabilize excess charge and should be important to consider when modeling molecular transport junctions and charge-transfer effects.

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