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How to tailor molecular electronics or why is nature taking the ‘soft’ approach


  • Prof. Dietrich Haarer

    1. Physikalisches Institut und BIMF der Universität Bayreuth Postfach 101251 D–8580 Bayreuth (FRG)
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    • is Professor of Physics at the University of Bayreuth, FRG. A physicist by training, he received his Ph.D. in 1969 from the University of Stuttgart. With short interruptions he then worked until 1980 at the IBM research laboratory in San Jose, California, which he left as manager of the Organic Solids Department, to take up his current position. His research activities include laser spectroscopy and laser chemistry. He is an Editorial Advisor of Advanced Materials.

  • This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, by the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk and by the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie. Moreover, I would like to thank my colleagues Büttner and Blumen for valuable comments and my students at the University of Bayreuth for their contributions to this work.


Nature performs “molecular electronics” with astounding efficiency. Now, researchers attempt to duplicate these processes in order to produce, for example, molecular switches. The recent direction of molecular electronics work has been towards ever increasing miniaturization but this is in fact not how nature approaches the problem. The current status of human “molecular electronics” is assessed and compared with nature's highly successful version.

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