Forty years of molecular electronics: Non-equilibrium heat and charge transport at the nanoscale

Authors

  • Justin P. Bergfield,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
    • Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, 2145Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208USA

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  • Mark A. Ratner

    1. Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
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Abstract

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Even after forty years of progress, the vibrant field of molecular electronics is still breaking new ground both experimentally and theoretically. The unique and complex interplay between molecular structure and the flow of charge, heat, and spin ensures a rich future for both fundamental research, and possible device applications. For a detailed discussion see the Review Article by Justin P. Bergfield and Mark A. Ratner (pp. 2249–2266). The cover image is an artist's rendition of a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) of polyphenylether molecules on Au contacted by an Au scanning tunneling microscope (STM). These polycyclic molecules have been predicted to exhibit exceptional thermoelectric properties which scale with the length of the molecule allowing, for instance, a portion of the waste heat from a factory or car exhaust to be harvested and efficiently converted back into usable electricity. Molecular thermoelectrics are particularly promising since the thermopower is an extensive quantity, meaning that potentially technologically relevant materials can be designed by chemically engineering the thermoelectric response of individual molecules.

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