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Keywords:

  • drug delivery;
  • fluorescence;
  • materials science;
  • molecular devices;
  • photochromism

Abstract

Information processing at the molecular level is coming of age. Since the first molecular AND gate was proposed about 20 years ago, the molecular interpretation of binary logic has become vastly more sophisticated and complex. However, the field is also at a crossroads. While cleverly designed molecular building blocks are abundant, difficult questions remain. How can molecular components be flexibly assembled into larger circuits, and how can these components communicate with one another. The concept of all-photonic switching with photochromic supermolecules has shown some interesting potential and is discussed in this review. Although the field of molecular logic was originally discussed mainly in terms of a technology that might compete with solid-state computers, potential applications have expanded to include clever molecular systems and materials for drug delivery, sensing, probing, encoding, and diagnostics. These upcoming trends, which are herein illustrated by selected examples, deserve general attention.