Present-day electronic technology, based to a large extent on silicon fabricated devices, is surely approaching size limitations arising from quantum effects. The effort to achieve rapid development of electronic devices requires implementation of entirely new ideas that will allow existing technological constraints to be overcome. Among a wide range of concepts, utilization of single organic molecules, acting as active blocks performing logic operations, appears as one of the most appealing and is based on the state-of-the-art use of modern nanotechnology. In this short review, we offer a selection of recent experiments addressing milestones of single-molecule computing devices technology. Along with discussion of the latest achievements in atomic- and molecular-scale technologies, we discuss their future perspectives, challenges, and still unsolved issues standing in the way of practical implementation of single-molecule devices.
Concept of a single-molecule electronic device. The molecule is equipped with various functional groups responsible for logic operations and bonding to an underlying surface and metallic nanoelectrodes. The monomolecular nanodevice is deposited on a thin buffer layer assuring the decoupling from a (semi-)conducting substrate.