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Density functional theory and model-based studies of charge transfer and molecular self-organization on surfaces: implications for molecular-based Quantum Cellular Automata

Alejandro Santana-Bonilla

PhD thesis (Dissertation), TU Dresden, Oktober 2016

Molecular-based quantum cellular automata (m-QCA), as an extension of quantum-dot QCAs, offer a novel alternative in which binary information can be encoded in the molecular charge configuration of a cell and propagated via nearest-neighbor Coulombic cell-cell interactions. Appropriate functionality of m-QCAs involves a complex relationship between quantum mechanical effects, such as electron transfer processes within the molecular building blocks, and electrostatic interactions between cells. In the first part of this document, the influence of structural distortions in single m-QCA is addressed within a minimal model using an diabatic-to-adiabatic transformation. Thus, it is shown that even small changes of the classical square geometry between driver and target cells, such as those induced by distance variations or shape distortions, can make cells respond to interactions in a far less symmetric fashion, modifying and potentially impairing the expected computational behavior of the m-QCA. The model has been further extended to consider time-dependent external electric fields in which a special emphasis is given to the profiles in which this external parameter can interact with the associated molecular complex. The results of the model have been validated by a direct comparison with first-principle calculations allowing to conclude the plausibility to induce the intra-molecular charge transfer process in a controllable manner via the interaction with the external electric field. The influence played by the electric field profile in the response of the molecular complex is also investigated. The results suggests a major role played by this variable in terms of the time length in which the intra-molecular charge transfer can be observed.

In the second part, first-principle theoretical calculations of the self-assembly properties and electronic structure of Ferrocene-functionalized complexes have been carried out. Hence, five different molecular complexes which offer a potential playground to realistic implement the m-QCA paradigm have been investigated. The main emphasis is given to study the interaction between localized charge-carrier molecular states and the delocalized surface states. The results of these calculations demonstrate the possibility to obtain real systems in which intra-molecular charge localization can be combined with self-assembly scaffolding and absorbed on either Highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) or metallic-surfaces. Finally, the validation of these findings is carried out via comparison with accesible experimental results and opening the gate to plausible strategies where the paradigm can be implemented.

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