We present first-principles calculations of the dI/dV characteristics of an H-2 molecule sandwiched between Au and Pt electrodes in the presence of electron-phonon interactions. The conductance is found to decrease by a few percentages at threshold voltages corresponding to the excitation energy of longitudinal vibrations of the H-2 molecule. In the case of Pt electrodes, the transverse vibrations can mediate transport through otherwise nontransmitting Pt d channels leading to an increase in the differential conductance even though the hydrogen junction is characterized predominately by a single almost fully open transport channel. In the case of Au, the transverse modes do not affect the dI/dV because the Au d states are too far below the Fermi level. A simple explanation of the first-principles results is given using scattering theory. Finally, we compare and discuss our results in relation to experimental data.
Bibliographical noteCopyright 2009 American Physical Society