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Gemma C. Solomon: What is “New Physical Insight”? Suggestions for Transport Studies


J. Phys. Chem. C, 2017, 121 (27), pp 14381–14381


What is significant new physical insight?

The answer, I would suggest, is 2-fold. Either (1) methods that offer a significant improvement over the state-of-the-art or (2) improved qualitative understanding of chemical trends in transport properties, with a particular focus on why the molecules/materials/junctions behave as they do.

In this context, the “why” of transport properties is often more challenging than the “what”. When we probe deeper to understand the why, we end up back where we started. We must face the challenge that physical chemistry, and chemistry more generally, does not have a long tradition in these environments or observables, and thus there is an absence of chemical concepts or structure–property relationships to answer the question of why. So we must build these too as we journey on and enjoy the challenge of taking molecules into unexplored territory.