Single-molecule electronics: from chemical design to functional devices
The use of single molecules in electronics represents the next limit of miniaturisation of electronic devices, which would enable us to continue the trend of aggressive downscaling of silicon-based electronic devices. More significantly, the fabrication, understanding and control of fully functional circuits at the single-molecule level could also open up the possibility of using molecules as devices with novel, not-foreseen functionalities beyond complementary metal-oxide semiconductor technology (CMOS). This review aims at highlighting the chemical design and synthesis of single molecule devices as well as their electrical and structural characterization, including a historical overview and the developments during the last 5 years. We discuss experimental techniques for fabrication of single-molecule junctions, the potential application of single-molecule junctions as molecular switches, and general physical phenomena in single-molecule electronic devices.