Inelastic electron transport through mesoscopic systems: Heating versus cooling and sequential tunneling versus cotunneling processes
Physical Review B
Inelastic electron transport in quantum dot systems is studied via the hierarchical equations of motion combining a small polaron transformation approach, with differential conductance dI/dV ∼ V characteristics being evaluated accurately at the cotunneling level. We observe (i) the peak feature of phonon emission Franck-Condon sidebands to the zero-phonon peaks of both polaron and bipolaron in sequential electron transport; (ii) phonon absorption peaks occurring if the phonon temperature is
... temperature is sufficiently higher than that of the carrier electron; and (iii) the step feature of Raman sidebands in the cotunneling transport regime. We also evaluate the polaron transport response to a continuous-wave irradiation that induces bias-voltage oscillation. We observe, consistent with experimental results, that (iv) the photon-phonon-assisted tunneling enhances phonon absorptions while suppressing emissions. As the phonon absorption (emission) is associated with the process of absorbing (emitting) energy from (to) the phonon environment, an alternating or tailored field applied to contacts could be a practical means of cooling the mesoscopic quantum-transport device.