Lure of molecular electronics––from molecular switches to distributed molecular information processing media

Nicholas G. RambidiE-mail The Corresponding Author

Physics Department, Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, Moscow 119899, Russia

Available online 11 June 2003.


There are two main directions in the development of devices for molecular information processing. The first includes attempts to elaborate molecular scale primitive elements such as molecular rectifiers, molecular switches and other devices. The most remarkable examples in this direction are the chiropticene molecular switch, protein-based associative processors and volumetric memories. The second direction is based on the concept of distributed molecular (chemical) information processing media. Chemical reaction-diffusion media represent information effective processing means capable of solving problems of high computational complexity. The distributed character and complex nonlinear dynamics of chemical reactions inherent in the media are the basis of high parallelism and complex logical operations carried out by the media as primitives. Photo-sensitive catalysts of the media reactions enable easy input of initial data, output of computational results and control of the dynamics (modes of functioning) of the media. It was found during the last decade that chemical reaction-diffusion media can be used effectively for image processing, finding the shortest paths in a labyrinth and solving some other problems of high computational complexity. Detailed analysis showed that designing a media with a multilevel architecture and suitable for performing evolutionary computations can be a promising way for further development of reaction-diffusion based devices.