CURRENT STATE-OF-THE-ARTBy analogy to what happens in molecular electronics, molecular spintronics can be divided in two major areas namely molecular-based spintronics (or organic spintronics) and single- molecule nanospintronics (or molecular nanospintronics). In the first sub-area the main goal has been that of integrating molecule-based materials into spintronic heterostructures to obtain second-generation spintronic devices. The very few attempts of incorporating molecules into these heterostructures have been limited to the use of molecular systems as spacers situated in between the two ferromagnetic electrodes. Still, the development of these devices is seriously hindered by the very low magneto-resistances achieved at room temperature. The most relevant results along this line have been obtained by European groups in the frame of two European FP Projects namely OFSPIN (Organic-Ferromagnetic Hybrid Interfaces for Spintronic Applications, 2007-2010) and HINTS (Next generation of Hybrid Interfaces for Spintronic Applications, 2011-2014). Most of the groups involved in these projects belong to the spintronic community.
In the second sub-area, the challenge is to condense the functionality of a spintronic device into a single molecule and to do so reliably and reproducibly. During the last few years, the molecular electronic community has proven that it is possible to attach metallic contacts to individual organic molecules. This has enabled to study the electrical transport of single molecules and, in particular, its sensitivity to conformational changes and to external stimuli such as temperature, magnetic field and light. Nonetheless, only a few functional single-molecule devices have been reported to date. Only very recently, the first experimental steps in the manipulation of molecular spin regardless its charge have been undertaken, revealing tentative potential for memory or quantum information technology. This novel approach in the intersection of molecular electronics with molecular magnetism should enable the creation of electrically addressable magnetic qubits and single-molecule spin switches. The European effort in this area is illustrated by the ICT-FET projects MolSpinQIP ("Molecular Spin Clusters for Quantum Information Processing" 2008-2011) ELFOS ("Electric Field Control Over Spin Molecules" 2011-2014) and MoQuaS ("Molecular Quantum Spintronics" 2013-2016).