|In terms of enabling chemistry in the design of new molecular systems that may exhibit unconventional electrical, optical and/or magnetic properties, there are several broad research activities. These include the synthesis and characterisation of polymers, and supramolecular chemistry, as it relates to preparation of substances with designed physical properties that may refer to aspects of molecular recognition, aggregation, formation of liquid crystals and other complex fluids, in the generation of stacking systems, molecular pillars, molecular wires, etc.There is clear evidence across Europe of significant activity in the areas outlined above, although it has not yet been co-ordinated. Facilitation of co-operation and development of new or more closely defined targets, while permitting the fullest possible range of imaginative development of new synthetic pathways and the design of new types of molecules, would substantially enhance the European effectiveness in this area of chemistry, giving a competitive incentive vis-à-vis North America and the Pacific nations in the search of new, cheap devices and artefacts.The objectives of the project are to advance understanding of :the design, synthesis, structural and physical characterisation of molecules capable of functioning as, or of being converted into, molecular devices. This will be achieved either by the development of new systems capable of having appropriate properties built into them (e.g. incorporation of photo-centres, para-magnetic metal ions, charge-responsive centres, etc), or by modifying existing molecules (synthetic or biological) by appropriate functionalisation. the design, synthesis, structural and physical characterisation of molecules that exhibit, when aggregated, a substantial degree of long-range order; the synthesis of molecules that are the basis of complex fluids, e.g. thermotropic liquid crystals and amphilic systems. the design, synthesis, structural and physical characterisation of molecules that, in bulk, exhibit useful and/or extraordinary physical properties. the physical limitations on information processing in molecular systems, e.g. by quantum-fluctuations.Current statusThe objectives of the Action are to encourage European collaboration and co-operation in the broad field of "molecular electronics, magnetic and conductivity". This is a very wide field, and so some focusing has been necessary : only projects concerned with the chemistry of systems relevant to the objectives of the Action, in particular synthesis, physical characterisation and interpretation and manipulation of the properties of systems derived from molecules being considered.There are now 18 projects involving participation of 81 research groups, operating under the framework of COST Action D4 and three PECO programmes. Overall, the projects cover the areas listed below, with, in each case, the number of participating laboratories and their countries :semiconducting molecular microstructures (2 French, 2 Swiss, 1 German);supramolecular co-ordination compounds for optoelectronics (1 Swiss, 1 Italian, 1 German);photoinduced charge separation at molecule-solid interfaces (1 Swiss, 1 German);photoinduced electron and energy transfer in Langmuir-Blodgett films (1 Finnish, 1 Belgian);conducting polymers containing metal fragments (1 Dutch, 1 French);conducting polymeric systems in Langmuir-Blodgett films (2 French, 1 Spanish, 1 Italian);columnar liquid crystals as energy guides (2 French, 2 Greek, 1 German); photochromic compounds with improved optical properties (2 French, 1 Belgian)molecular magnetic materials (2 French, 1 British, 1 Spanish); polymers for non-linear optic properties (2 Swiss, 2 Italian); optical and electrical properties of electrochemical carbon (1 Czech, 1 Austrian, 1 Hungarian);organometallic compounds for non-linear optical properties (1 British, 1 Belgian, 3 French, 1 Irish);opto-electronic and magnetic properties of polymetallic macrocyclic compounds (2 French, 1 Spanish, 1 Italian); optical charge-transfer in organometallic and co-ordination compounds (1 Czech, 1 Dutch, 1 British, 1 French);synthesis of variable thickness films (PECO : Poland; 1 British, 1 US affiliate);new molecular species for non-linear optics (PECO : Poland; 1 British, 1 French affiliate);electrical conductivity and non-linear optical effects in organic crystals and thin layers (PECO : Poland; 1 Italian, 1 British affiliate); bimetallic monocation polyene and polyenes dipoles and polymetallic analogues for NLO effects (1 British, 2 Italian, 1 Belgian, 1 German, 1 Irish);interplay of Conductivity, Magnetism and nonlinear Optics in Molecular Solids (2 French, 1 Dutch, 2 British, 1 Portuguese);Nickel (II) Molecular Magnetic Systems (2 French, 1 Italian, 1 German, 1 Spanish, 1 Polish);photochromic compounds with improved optical properties (1 Belgian, 1 French, 1 German).The Management Committee met three times in 1995/96 : in Brussels (B) on 8 Sep 1995 and on 12 Apr 1996, and in Leuven (B) on 6 Sep 1996, and have at least one presentation per year on topics of wide interest and applicability with relevance to the interests of the Action.The third workshop of the Action was held in connection with the third European Conference on "Molecular Electronics", which took place in Leuven (B) in September 1996. There were a considerable number of papers presented on various aspects of nanoscale science and technology, which is particularly relevant to a COST-orientated conference in 1995 in this field.The Management Committee was concerned whether there were any particular problems associated with the collaborative project, and how many PhD (doctorate) students are associated with the project, both directly and indirectly. The Management Committee has also requested that it should receive one copy of any relevant publications, and that such publications should acknowledge the participation of COST. Six Working Group meetings, in the fields of liquid crystals, conducting polymers, advanced photochromism and non-linear optics, were held in 1995 and six more in 1996. Seven applications for Short-Term Scientific Mission grants were received, and have been approved.The COST Action D4 is due to formally end on 13 Sep 1997, but the present Management Committee is currently examining those areas of activity likely to continue to expand and develop. In the meantime, the Management Committee has decided that it will be necessary to request a year's prolongation to finish the Action activities.