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It is an exciting era for molecular computation because molecular logic gates are being pushed in new directions. The use of sulfur rather than the commonplace nitrogen as the key receptor atom in metal ion sensors is one of these directions; plant cells coming within the jurisdiction of fluorescent molecular thermometers is another, combining photochromism with voltammetry for molecular electronics is yet another. Two-input logic gates benefit from old ideas such as rectifying bilayer electrodes, cyclodextrin-enhanced room-temperature phosphorescence, steric hindrance, the polymerase chain reaction, charge transfer absorption of donor–acceptor complexes and lectin–glycocluster interactions. Furthermore, the concept of photo-uncaging enables rational ways of concatenating logic gates. Computational concepts are also applied to potential cancer theranostics and to the selective monitoring of neurotransmitters in situ. Higher numbers of inputs are also accommodated with the concept of functional integration of gates, where complex input–output patterns are sought out and analysed. Molecular emulation of computational components such as demultiplexers and parity generators/checkers are achieved in related ways. Complexity of another order is tackled with molecular edge detection routines.

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