Abstract:
The non equilibrium Green function formalism is today the standard computational method for describing elastic transport in molecular devices. This can be extended to include inelastic scattering by the so called self-consistent Born approximation (SCBA), where the interaction of the electrons with the vibrations of the molecule is assumed to be weak and it is treated perturbatively. The validity of such an assumption and therefore of the SCBA is difficult to establish with certainty. In this work we explore the limitations of the SCBA by using a simple tight-binding model with the electron-phonon coupling strength $\rm{\alpha}$ chosen as a free parameter. As model devices we consider Au mono-atomic chains and a $\rm{H_2}$ molecule sandwiched between Pt electrodes. In both cases our self-consistent calculations demonstrate a breakdown of the SCBA for large $\rm{\alpha}$ and we identify a weak and strong coupling regime. For weak coupling our SCBA results compare closely with those obtained with exact scattering theory. However in the strong coupling regime large deviations are found. In particular we demonstrate that there is a critical coupling strength, characteristic of the materials system, beyond which multiple self-consistent solutions can be found depending on the initial conditions in the simulation. We attribute these features to the breakdown of the perturbative expansion leading to the SCBA.

Abstract:
The formation of the magnetic moment in C- and N-doped MgO is the result of a delicate interplay between Hund's coupling, hybridization and Jahn-Teller distortion. The balance depends on a number of environmental variables including electron doping. We investigate such a dependence by self-interaction corrected density functional theory and we find that the moment formation is robust with respect to electron doping. In contrast, the local symmetry around the dopant is more fragile and two different geometries can be stabilized. Crucially the magnetic moment is always extremely localized, making any carrier mediated picture of magnetism in d^0 magnets unlikely.

Abstract:
We present a complete prescription for the numerical calculation of surface Green's functions and self-energies of semi-infinite quasi-onedimensional systems. Our work extends the results of Sanvito et al. [1] generating a robust algorithm to be used in conjunction with ab initio electronic structure methods. We perform a detailed error analysis of the scheme and find that the highest accuracy is found if no inversion of the usually ill conditioned hopping matrix is involved. Even in this case however a transformation of the hopping matrix that decreases its condition number is needed in order to limit the size of the imaginary part of the wave-vectors. This is done in two different ways, either by applying a singular value decomposition and setting a lowest bound for the smallest singular value, or by adding a random matrix of small amplitude. By using the first scheme the size of the Hamiltonian matrix is reduced, making the computation considerably faster for large systems. For most energies the method gives high accuracy, however in the presence of surface states the error diverges due to the singularity in the self-energy. A surface state is found at a particular energy if the set of solution eigenvectors of the infinite system is linearly dependent. This is then used as a criterion to detect surface states, and the error is limited by adding a small imaginary part to the energy. [1] S. Sanvito, C. J. Lambert, J. H. Jefferson, and A. M. Bratkovsky, Phys. Rev. B 59, 11936 (1999).

Abstract:
Density functional theory and density functional perturbation theory are used to investigate the electronic and vibrational properties of TiS$_2$. Within the local density approximation the material is a semi-metal both in the bulk and in the monolayer form. Most interestingly we observe a Kohn anomaly in the bulk phonon dispersion, which turns into a charge density wave instability when TiS$_2$ is thinned to less than four monolayers. Such charge density wave phase can be tuned by compressive strain, which appears to be the control parameter of the instability.

Abstract:
We investigate Andreev reflection in two-dimensional heterojunctions formed by a superconductor in contact with a topological insulator ribbon either possessing or breaking time-reversal symmetry. Both classes of topological insulators exhibit perfect Andreev reflection, which is robust against disorder. This is assigned to topologically protected edge states. In the time-reversal symmetric case we show that doping one of the ribbon edges with magnetic impurities suppresses one Andreev channel, while no such suppression is seen in the broken symmetry situation. Based on this observation we suggest a tabletop transport experiment able to distinguish between the two types of topological insulators, which does not involve the direct measurement of the material band structure.

Abstract:
We report on {\it ab initio} time-dependent spin dynamics simulations for a two-center magnetic molecular complex based on time-dependent non-collinear spin density functional theory. In particular, we discuss how the dynamical behavior of the {\it ab initio} spin-density in the time-domain can be mapped onto a model Hamiltonian based on the classical Heisenberg spin-spin interaction $J\vcr{S}_1\cdot \vcr{S}_2$. By analyzing individual localized-spin trajectories, extracted from the spin-density evolution, we demonstrate a novel method for evaluating the effective Heisenberg exchange coupling constant, $J$, from first principles simulations. We find that $J$, extracted in such a new dynamical way, agrees quantitatively to that calculated by the standard density functional theory broken-symmetry scheme.

Abstract:
We analyze electron transport in multiprobe quantum spin Hall (QSH) bars using the B\"{u}ttiker formalism and draw parallels with their quantum Hall (QH) counterparts. We find that in a QSH bar the measured resistance changes upon introducing side voltage probes, in contrast to the QH case. We also study four- and six-terminal geometries and derive the expressions for the resistances. For these our analysis is generalized from the single-channel to the multi-channel case and to the inclusion of backscattering originating from a constriction placed within the bar.

Abstract:
The magnetic and structural properties of MnAs are studied with ab initio methods, and by mapping total energies onto a Heisenberg model. The stability of the different phases is found to depend mainly on the volume and on the amount of magnetic order, confirming previous experimental findings and phenomenological models. It is generally found that for large lattice constants the ferromagnetic state is favored, whereas for small lattice constants different antiferromagnetic states can be stabilized. In the ferromagnetic state the structure with minimal energy is always hexagonal, whereas it becomes orthorhombically distorted if there is an antiferromagnetic component in the hexagonal plane. For the paramagnetic state the stable cell is found to be orthorhombic up to a critical lattice constant of about 3.7 Angstrom, above which it remains hexagonal. This leads to the second order structural phase transition between paramagnetic states at about 400 K, where the lattice parameter increases above this critical value with rising temperature due to the thermal expansion. For the paramagnetic state an analytic approximation for the magnitude of the orthorhombic distortion as a function of the lattice constant is given. Within the mean field approximation the dependence of the Curie temperature on the volume and on the orthorhombic distortion is calculated. For orthorhombically distorted cells the Curie temperature is much smaller than for hexagonal cells. This is mainly due to the fact that some of the exchange coupling constants in the hexagonal plane become negative for distorted cells. With these results a description of the susceptibility as function of temperature is given.

Abstract:
We demonstrate that the critical temperature for valence tautomeric interconversion in Cobalt dioxolene complexes can be significantly changed when a static electric field is applied to the molecule. This is achieved by effectively manipulating the redox potential of the metallic acceptor forming the molecule. Importantly our accurate density functional theory calculations demonstrate that already a field of 0.1 V/nm, achievable in Stark spectroscopy experiments, can produce a change in the critical temperature for the interconversion of 20 K. Our results indicate a new way for switching on and off the magnetism in a magnetic molecule. This offers the unique chance of controlling magnetism at the atomic scale by electrical means.

Abstract:
We investigate the electron transport properties of a model magnetic molecule formed by two magnetic centers whose exchange coupling can be altered with a longitudinal electric field. In general we find a negative differential conductance at low temperatures originating from the different scattering amplitudes of the singlet and triplet states. More interestingly, when the molecule is strongly coupled to the leads and the potential drop at the magnetic centers is only weakly dependent on the magnetic configuration, we find that there is a critical voltage V_C at which the current becomes independent of the temperature. This corresponds to a peak in the low temperature current noise. In such limit we demonstrate that the quadratic current fluctuations are proportional to the product between the conductance fluctuations and the temperature.