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Nanowire structure

Landauer-Buttiker formalism

Electrodes: macroscopic reservoirs (L>>Lphi); experience inelastic scattering; thermalize and reach an equilibrium distribution function (Fermi distribution function) Channel (mesoscopic system): L<Lphi; no inelastic scattering along the channel, only elastic scattering with impurities occurs; intrinsically out of equilibrium, no equilibrium distribution function can be defined; Leads: widening contacts where no elastic nor inelastic scattering is assumed to occur.

GOAL: find I(V)

Process (second quantization)

In second quantization, the hamiltonian operator can be written

Single-particle first quantization hamiltonian for a Channel with one impurity

Time evolution of the field operator

Equation to be solved

Process (second quantization)

The general solution of this differential equation is

a's and b's are called amplitude operators. Introducing Energy instead of momentum k, and integrating over all energies range

Scattering formalism
Scattering matrix

Transmission and Reflection coefficients

Scattering matrix coefficients depend solely on the channel and are computed imposing boundary conditions to the differential equation.


For one impurity in the channel

For two impurities in the channel

Current operator
In second-quantized form

Where we can use the field operator we just found (usually we compute current in the leads)

In the left lead

After linearization around Ef

Current calculation
To compute the current we average over many samples (canonical ensemble)



Energy Density operator in Second quantization

From scattering matrix

Landauer-Buttiker formula
Finally one gets the Landauer-Buttiker formula for the current in the leads

As simple results one can compute the linear conductance of a sample

Even if there are no impurities in the channel (T=1), a resistance arises anyway. It is related to the coupling of the mesoscopic (ballistic) system with the macroscopic contacts.

Self-consistent field

Source and drain are macroscopic contacts with fermi distribution functions f1(E) and f2(E).

Effect of Vg on the channel

What makes current flow?

When a voltage V is applied between source and drain

An energy level E inside the channel sees two different Charge flows: Source would like to fill it with electrons to see f1(E); Drain would like to empty it to see f2(E). Equilibrium is never reached. Current from the source Current from the drain

At steady-state

Broadening of the level

Part of the energy level spreads outside the energy range between the electrochemical Potentials where current flows. The current is then reduced by a factor

Density of level D(E)

Considering the density of level D(E) inside the channel, with broadening becomes

Current and number of electrons

To compute the current in presence of broadening, we have to integrate over all the Energy range

Similarly, the number of electrons N at steady-state becomes

Potential profile

To inlcude the effect of gate voltage, potential inside the channel must be computed.

Iterative procedure

A simple comparison
From Landauer-Buttiker theory