Molecular electronics and optoelectronics depend for their existence on the molecular organization of space. The fundamental mechanisms underlying the rich phenomena that have been discovered in these areas arise from mixing of electronic energies in the molecule with external, macroscopic structures. Mechanisms of charge injection and transport, and their manifestations in the physical properties of molecular electronic junctions, are discussed. Major questions that remain unresolved are placed in the contexts of fundamental understanding and device considerations.In the natural world, molecules are used for many purposes. Using molecule-based materials for electronics, sensing, and optoelectronics is a new endeavor, called molecular electronics, and the subject both of riveting new research and substantial popular press interest.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(02)05226-4