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

Justin P. Bergfield*, Mark A. Ratner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2249-2266
Number of pages18
JournalPhysica Status Solidi (B) Basic Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Chemical symmetry
  • Future of molecular electronics
  • Molecular electronics overview
  • Molecular thermoelectric response
  • Non-equilibrium quantum heat and charge transport theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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