Chapter 12

Concluding Remarks and Future Prospects

‘We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.’

Alan Turing

The term infochemistry was initially used to describe chemical communication between different, sometimes very primitive, plants and animals. Pheromones, agents for quorum sensing and natural repellants are the best-known examples of infochemicals. Later on it was discovered that some plants use very complex infochemistry-based defences against herbivoral insects. Instead of using repellants and toxins, some species under attack produce carnivore attractants [1]. It was also realized that some anthropogenic chemicals may interfere with the natural molecular communication pathways of various organisms [2, 3].

Very recently the term of infochemistry was revitalized by George M. Whitesides [4–8]. In these papers infochemistry was associated with chemical processes used for the transmission of data encoded in a sequence of alkali metal ions deposited on flammable substrates. Other work discussed the flow of two immiscible liquids through a microfluidic channel as a generator of optical pulses for data encoding and transmission. This book presents an extended definition of infochemistry as a field within physical chemistry which is related to information processing, transmission and storage.

The application of molecular systems to information processing has become a vibrant field of science on the interface between chemistry, electronics ...

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