. . . To encourage the growth of any science, the best thing we can do is to meet together in its interest, to discuss its problems, to criticize each other's work and, best of all, to provide means by which the better portion of it may be made known to the world. . . .
Understanding a nanoscale system driven out of equilibrium by the flow of electrical current is a challenging, nonequilibrium quantum and statistical physics problem. In general, the electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom acquire non-thermal, steady state distributions, but it is extremely difficult to access those effects experimentally.
Fortunately, nanostructured metal electrodes can act as optical antennas, enabling single-molecule Raman spectroscopy as well as electronic transport measurements. I will describe our recent experiments, in which we use this approach to infer information about both vibrational and electronic heating in biased single-molecule junctions. These kinds of experiments can resolve outstanding physical chemistry questions in surface-enhanced spectroscopies while examining fundamental concerns about dissipation and irreversibility at the nanoscale.