Public Release: 

The February issue of Materials Today looks at molecular electronics and asks questions


What is it? How will it be applied in the future?

Introducing molecular electronics

"In the natural world, molecules are used for many purposes. Using molecule-based materials for electronics, sensing, and optoelectronics is a new endeavor, called molecular electronics, and the subject both of riveting new research, and substantial popular press interest," says Mark Ratner. As one of the founding fathers of molecular electronics, Professor Ratner introduces the basic concepts of molecular electronics, looks at the promise that molecular electronics holds, and describes the fundamental questions that still have to be answered for these promises to be fulfilled. "For [certain] fields ... our understanding is even more primitive, the challenges even greater, and the possible novel applications perhaps even richer. There is more day to dawn." (5(2) pp. 20)

Moletronics: future electronics

Could it be possible to compute with molecular-scale structures? Could computation literally become a property of matter? Kwan Kwok and James Ellenbogen survey recent work, from the discovery of a new physics phenomena to the demonstration of tiny computer logic circuits built from molecular-scale-devices, supported by DARPA's 'Moletronics Program'. "Looking beyond present experiments, it is possible to envision a new materials technology that incorporates such nanoelectronics into the very fabric of all objects even before they are built," say the authors. (5(2) pp. 28)

Nanowires take the prize

Charles Lieber, co-winner (with Mark Ratner) of the Feynman Prize for 2001 talks to Materials Today about his work and where it could lead. "We have these things as chemical or building blocks there to be manipulated. You can combine things that you just didn't think you could combine. You can bring functionality to the table that really isn't possible by other means," says Lieber. With the need for smaller and smaller microelectronic devices, Lieber's work with 'nanowires' may provide part of the solution. (5(2) pp. 48)


If you need information about this issue or full text of any of the articles, please contact the Materials Today office:

Catherine McNeill
Editorial Assistant, Materials Today
The Boulevard, Langford Lane
Oxford, OX5 1GB

Tel: +44 1865 843140
Fax: +44 1865 843933

Notes for Editors:

About Materials Today
Materials Today ( is an international magazine that is devoted to bringing the latest research and policy news to materials researchers in academia, industry and government organizations. Topical reviews from leaders in their fields form the majority of each issue, with regular columnists also contributing. Published monthly by Elsevier Science, Materials Today is available free of charge to registered readers.

About Elsevier Science
Elsevier Science ( is the world's largest scientific, technical and medical information provider and publishes over 1,500 journals, 1,200 books a year as well as secondary databases. It is a member of the Reed Elsevier plc group ( a world-leading publisher and information provider. Operating in the scientific, legal and business-to-business sectors, Reed Elsevier provides high-quality and flexible information solutions to users, with increasing emphasis on the Internet as means of delivery.

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