The field of molecular electronics is aimed at the use of small ensembles or even individual molecules as functional building blocks in electronic circuitry. Single-molecule devices appear to be ideal candidates for future nano-electronics, as they possess the potential for creating high-density devices with low power consumption in combination with high speed. Moreover, because of their internal molecular structure, molecules may provide novel intrinsic functionality not found in today's silicon electronics.
Although molecular electronics can be regarded as a possible path to drive miniaturization beyond the limits being approached by conventional semiconductor technology, it also presents a significant challenge because of the need for reproducible fabrication at the molecular scale. If molecular devices can take advantage of self-assembly processes, however, molecular devices may also feature low manufacturing costs.