Indexed on: 08 Sep '10Published on: 08 Sep '10Published in: Chemical Society Reviews
This critical review describes selected examples extracted from the extensive literature generated during the past 42 years on the topic of anion binding in molecular capsules. The goal of including anions in molecular capsules emerges from the idea of incorporating the traits exhibited by biological receptors into synthetic ones. At the outset of this research area the capsules were unimolecular. The scaffold of the receptor was designed to covalently link a series of functional groups that could converge into a cavity and to avoid its collapse. The initial examples involved the encapsulation of one monoatomic spherical anion. With time, the cavity size of the receptor was increased and encapsulation of polyatomic anions and co-encapsulation became a reality. Synthetic economy fueled the use of aggregates of self-complementary molecules rather than one large molecule as capsules. The main purpose of this review is to give a general overview of the topic which might be of interest to supramolecular or non supramolecular chemists alike (149 references).