Density functional calculations for the electronic conductance of single molecules are now common. We examine the methodology from a rigorous point of view, discussing where it can be expected to work, and where it should fail. When molecules are weakly coupled to leads, local and gradient-corrected approximations fail, as the Kohn-Sham levels are misaligned. In the weak bias regime, exchange-correlation corrections to the current are missed by the standard methodology. For finite bias, a new methodology for performing calculations can be rigorously derived using an extension of time-dependent current density functional theory from the Schrödinger equation to a master equation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics