Considerable effort is currently being devoted to the miniaturization of electronic devices to the nanometer scale, ideally affording systems that operate on a molecular level. Chemist’s contribution to this research area has thus far concentrated on the preparation of organic OR inorganic materials. For example, purely metallic GaAs and GaP nanowires have been constructed for semiconductor applications. While these materials show excellent electron mobility properties, their tuning potential is rather low. In contrast, organic semiconductors such as conjugated oligomers or polymers display promising properties, though their electron carrier properties are intrinsically lower than that of metallic materials. Organometallic species comprising tunable organic ligand moieties and transition metal centers featuring an enhanced electron mobility may combine the advantages of purely inorganic and organic materials and are therefore expected to be particularly useful as molecular units for the fabrication of new electronic devices. The proposed research aims at identifying molecular switches based on mono- and multimetallic complexes and at their implementation in electronically active devices, thus creating intelligent materials. While organometallic chemistry dominates the highly synthetic first part of the project, the characterization and application of self-assemblies in molecular electronics clearly requires an interdisciplinary approach.
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