The United States, Italy and China are cooperating to develop superior thin-film technologies that could endow future devices with properties not possible in today's processing. A group of scientists in the United States and Italy has described transparent organic thin films that use self-assembly to create ultrathin layers with superior electro-optical properties. A cooperating group in the United States and China has demonstrated that superconductivity can be precisely controlled in ultrathin films. Professors Tobin Marks and Antonio Facchetti at Northwestern University collaborated with professor Giorgio Pagani of the University of Milano-Bicocca to demonstrate a vapor-deposition technique for fabricating transparent organic thin films that self-assemble. The group reports a hundredfold increase in the self-assembled material's electro-optical responses at both the 1.3- and the 1.55-micron communications wavelengths.