Abstract:
We demonstrate numerically the existence of a spin-motive force acting on spin-carriers when moving in a time and space dependent internal field. This is the case of electrons in a one-dimensional wires with a precessing domain wall. The effect can be explained solely by considering adiabatic dynamics and it is shown to exist for both classical and quantum systems.

Abstract:
A new method for investigating the dynamics of atomic magnetic moments in current-carrying magnetic point contacts under bias is presented. This combines the non-equilibrium Green's function (NEGF) method for evaluating the current and the charge density with a description of the dynamics of the magnetization in terms of quasistatic thermally-activated transitions between stationary configurations. This method is then implemented in a tight-binding (TB) model with parameters chosen to simulate the main features of the electronic structures of magnetic transition metals. We investigate the domain wall (DW) migration in magnetic monoatomic chains sandwiched between magnetic leads, and for realistic parameters find that collinear arrangement of the magnetic moments of the chain is always favorable. Several stationary magnetic configurations are identified, corresponding to a different number of Bloch walls in the chain and to a different current. The relative stability of these configurations depends on the geometrical details of the junction and on the bias, however we predict transitions between different configurations with activation barriers of the order of a few tens of meV. Since different magnetic configurations are associated to different resistances, this suggests an intrinsic random telegraph noise at microwave frequencies in the I-V characteristics of magnetic atomic point contacts at room temperature. Finally, we investigate whether or not current induced torques are conservative.

Abstract:
Dynamical effects of non-conservative forces in long, defect free atomic wires are investigated. Current flow through these wires is simulated and we find that during the initial transient, the kinetic energies of the ions are contained in a small number of phonon modes, closely clustered in frequency. These phonon modes correspond to the waterwheel modes determined from preliminary static calculations. The static calculations allow one to predict the appearance of non-conservative effects in advance of the more expensive real-time simulations. The ion kinetic energy redistributes across the band as non-conservative forces reach a steady state with electronic frictional forces. The typical ion kinetic energy is found to decrease with system length, increase with atomic mass, and its dependence on bias, mass and length is supported with a pen and paper model. This paper highlights the importance of non-conservative forces in current carrying devices and provides criteria for the design of stable atomic wires.

Abstract:
The effect of nonconservative current-induced forces on the ions in a defect-free metallic nanowire is investigated using both steady-state calculations and dynamical simulations. Non-conservative forces were found to have a major influence on the ion dynamics in these systems, but their role in increasing the kinetic energy of the ions decreases with increasing system length. The results illustrate the importance of nonconservative effects in short nanowires and the scaling of these effects with system size. The dependence on bias and ion mass can be understood with the help of a simple pen and paper model. This material highlights the benefit of simple preliminary steady-state calculations in anticipating aspects of brute-force dynamical simulations, and provides rule of thumb criteria for the design of stable quantum wires.

Abstract:
Long metallic nanowires combine crucial factors for non-conservative current-driven atomic mo- tion. These systems have degenerate vibrational frequencies, clustered about a Kohn anomaly in the dispersion relation, that can couple under current to form non-equilibrium modes of motion growing exponentially in time. Such motion is made possible by non-conservative current-induced forces on atoms, and we refer to it generically as the waterwheel effect. Here the connection be- tween the waterwheel effect and the stimulated directional emission of phonons propagating along the electron flow is discussed in an intuitive manner. Non-adiabatic molecular dynamics show that waterwheel modes self-regulate by reducing the current and by populating modes nearby in fre- quency, leading to a dynamical steady state in which non-conservative forces are counter-balanced by the electronic friction. The waterwheel effect can be described by an appropriate effective non- equilibrium dynamical response matrix. We show that the current-induced parts of this matrix in metallic systems are long-ranged, especially at low bias. This non-locality is essential for the characterisation of non-conservative atomic dynamics under current beyond the nanoscale.

Abstract:
The key questions of uniqueness and existence in time-dependent density functional theory are usually formulated only for potentials and densities that are analytic in time. Simple examples, standard in quantum mechanics, lead however to non-analyticities. We reformulate these questions in terms of a non-linear Schr\"odinger equation with a potential that depends non-locally on the wavefunction.

Abstract:
We give a physical interpretation of the recently demonstrated nonconservative nature of interatomic forces in current-carrying nanostructures. We start from the analytical expression for the curl of these forces, and evaluate it for a point defect in a current-carrying system. We obtain a general definition of the capacity of electrical current flow to exert a nonconservative force, and thus do net work around closed paths, by a formal noninvasive test procedure. Second, we show that the gain in atomic kinetic energy over time, generated by nonconservative current-induced forces, is equivalent to the uncompensated stimulated emission of directional phonons. This connection with electron–phonon interactions quantifies explicitly the intuitive notion that nonconservative forces work by angular momentum transfer.

Abstract:
We derive and employ a semi-classical Langevin equation obtained from path-integrals to describe the ionic dynamics of a molecular junction in the presence of electrical current. The electronic environment serves as an effective non-equilibrium bath. The bath results in random forces describing Joule heating,current-induced forces including the non-conservative wind force,dissipative frictional forces, and an effective Lorentz-like force due to the Berry phase of the non-equilibrium electrons. Using a generic two-level molecular model, we highlight the importance of both current-induced forces and Joule heating for the stability of the system. We compare the impact of the different forces, and the wide-band approximation for the electronic structure on our result. We examine the current-induced instabilities (excitation of runaway "waterwheel" modes) and investigate the signature of these in the Raman signals.

Abstract:
A dynamical method for inelastic transport simulations in nanostructures is compared with a steady-state method based on non-equilibrium Green's functions. A simplified form of the dynamical method produces, in the steady state in the weak-coupling limit, effective self-energies analogous to those in the Born Approximation due to electron-phonon coupling. The two methods are then compared numerically on a resonant system consisting of a linear trimer weakly embedded between metal electrodes. This system exhibits enhanced heating at high biases and long phonon equilibration times. Despite the differences in their formulation, the static and dynamical methods capture local current-induced heating and inelastic corrections to the current with good agreement over a wide range of conditions, except in the limit of very high vibrational excitations, where differences begin to emerge.

Abstract:
We revisit the problem of forces on atoms under current in nanoscale conductors. We derive and discuss the five principal kinds of force under steady-state conditions from a simple standpoint that - with the help of background literature - should be accessible to physics undergraduates. The discussion aims at combining methodology with an emphasis on the underlying physics through examples. We discuss and compare two forces present only under current - the non-conservative electron wind force and a Lorentz-like velocity-dependent force. It is shown that in metallic nanowires both display significant features at the wire surface, making it a candidate for the nucleation of current-driven structural transformations and failure. Finally we discuss the problem of force noise and the limitations of Ehrenfest dynamics.