The “Quo Vadis?” meeting in Bremen (March 2013) was a spectacular opportunity for people involved in molecular electronics to catch up on the latest, to think back, and to project into the future. This manuscript is divided into two halves. In the first half, we address some of the history and where the field has advanced in the areas of measuring, modeling, making, and understanding materials. We review some big ideas that have animated the field of molecular electronics since its beginning, and are at the height of interest and accomplishment at the moment. Then, we discuss six major areas where the field is evolving, and in which we expect to see very exciting work in the years and decades ahead. As a representative of one of the neer themes, the second half of the paper is devoted to molecular thermoelectrics. It contains some formalism, some results, some experimental comparison, and some intriguing conceptual questions, both for pure science and for device applications.
An artist's rendition of a self-assembled monolayer of polyphenylether molecules on Au contacted by a Au STM.