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  1. Metal ion-linked multilayers have emerged as a simple and modular means of assembling molecular components on an inorganic substrate. The choice of molecules, based on their excited state energies and redox potentials, has enabled the directional control of energy and electron transfer events for application in electrochromics, solar energy harvesting, molecular rectifiers, photocatalysis, and more. Here, we recount the more than 35-year journey of metal ion-linked multilayers and their transition from planar to mesoporous substrates and from homogeneous to heterogeneous multilayers. This includes showcasing the vast range of components (i.e., substrates, metal ions, and molecules), structural insights, and applications. We also highlight current limitations in our knowledge of and ability to control these systems which must be overcome to realize the full potential of metal ion-linked multilayers. 
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