Molecule-Based Devices

  • Françisco M. Raymo
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SPRINGERHAND)


The constituent components of conventional devices are carved out of larger materials relying on physical methods. This top-down approach to engineered building blocks becomes increasingly challenging as the dimensions of the target structures approach the nanoscale. Nature, on the other hand, assembles nanoscaled biomolecules relying on chemical strategies. Small molecular building blocks are joined to produce nanostructures with defined geometries and specific functions. It is becoming apparent that Nature's bottom-up approach to functional nanostructures can be mimicked to produce artificial molecules with nanoscaled dimensions and engineered properties. Indeed, examples of artificial nanohelices , nanotubes and molecular motors are starting to be developed. Some of these fascinating chemical systems have intriguing electrochemical and photochemical properties, which can be exploited to manipulate chemical, electrical and optical signals at the molecular level. This tremendous opportunity has led to the development of the molecular equivalent of conventional logic gates. Indeed, simple logic operations can be reproduced with collections of molecules operating in solution. Most of these chemical systems, however, rely on bulk addressing to execute combinational and sequential logic operations. It is essential to devise methods to reproduce these useful functions in solid-state configurations and, eventually, with single molecules. These challenging objectives are stimulating the design of clever devices that interface small assemblies of organic molecules with macroscaled and nanoscaled electrodes. These strategies have already produced rudimentary examples of diodes, switches and transistors based on functional molecular components. The rapid and continuous progress of this exploratory research will, hopefully, lead to an entire generation of molecule-based devices that might ultimately find useful applications in a variety of fields ranging from biomedical research to information technology.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Françisco M. Raymo
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of ChemistryUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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