Over the last few years it has become increasingly important to keep track of single electron processes on the atomic scale. The reason for this trend is the ultimate goal of building and testing molecular devices. The combination of scanning tunneling microscopy with powerful modeling is now capable of treating some of the most important issues in this regime. Issues like spin polarization and magnetization, imaging of single electron states, chemical bonding, and energy transport on the single electron scale. We expect that the ultimate goal of understanding and measuring most processes on the level of single electrons can be reached within the near future.Events on the atomic level are governed by electron properties. This fact has profound implications on the direction materials research takes, once it focuses on single molecules and atoms.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(02)01028-3