Molecular electronics: An Australian perspective

Jeffrey R. Reimers, Paul J. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Molecular electronics is a scientific endeavour that, for 60 years, has offered the promise of new technologies in which molecules integrate with, if not entirely replace, semiconductor electronics. En route to the attainment of these ambitious goals, central aspects underpinning the pursuit of this science have proven critical to the development of related technologies, including organic photovoltaics (OPV) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Looking ahead, new opportunities in the field abound, from the study of molecular charge transport and the elucidation of molecular reaction mechanisms, to the development of biocompatible and degradable electronics, and the construction of novel chemical sensors with exquisite sensitivity and specificity. This article reviews historical developments in molecular electronics, with a particular focus on Australia's contributions to the area. Australia's current activity in molecular electronics research is also summarised, highlighting the capacity to both advance fundamental knowledge and develop new technologies. Scientific aspects considered include capabilities in: single molecule and molecular-monolayer junction measurement; spectroscopic analysis of molecular components and materials; synthetic chemistry; computational analysis of molecular materials and junctions; and the development of theoretical concepts that describe the electrical characteristics of molecular components, materials and putative device structures. Technological aspects considered include various aspects of molecular material design and implementation, such as: OPV and OLED construction, sensing technologies and applications, and power generation from heat gradients or friction. Missing capabilities are identified, and a future pathway for Australian scientific and technological development envisaged.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Journal of Chemistry
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

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