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MOLECULAR ELECTRONICS

 

Small organic molecules confined between metal electrodes are in the focus of interest for over three decades now since they offer the prospects of becoming active components in ultra-high density nanoelectronic devices. From a technological point of view, significant progress could be achieved in the last decade in, e.g., the synthesis of appropriate molecules or the ability to produce device structures with nanoscaled dimen¬sions. In contrast, making reliable electrical contacts to molecules (i.e. connecting them to the outside world) has been and still continues to be a challenging problem for both, fundamental as well as preparational reasons. To study this problem, chemists and physicists (experimentalists as well as theoreticians) are trying in a joined effort to unravel the fundamental role of interfaces between small organic molecules and their connection to the outside world. In more detail, molecules are first adsorbed at a metal surface and then metallized in a second step by means of a recently developed electrochemical approach.

To increase the functionality of molecule-based nano-electronic devices in the future, a significant increase in complexity of the device architecture might be required. As a vision, combina¬tions of different molecular layers which can electrically be con¬tacted by individual metal electrodes could serve as a new platform for this ambitious aim. New concepts are developed to extend the usual sandwich design of conventional metal-molecule-metal junctions (one organic layer involved) to a molecular double-decker and, finally, to a molecular multilayer with significantly increased functionality and packing density thus aiming to expand Molecular Electronics to the third dimension.