Self-Assembly of Redox-Responsive Receptors
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Macrocyclic compounds, which are able to selectively bind ions, have received considerable attention because of applications in the fields of sensing, catalysis, and ion-transport, among others. Traditionally, covalent bonds are used for the construction of the macrocyclic framework. However, a drawback of this approach is that quite often, the synthesis is time-consuming and expensive. In the following, a unique class of receptors is described. These receptors are formed by self-assembly of three organometallic subunits and have a diameter of approximately 1 nm. They show an outstanding affinity and selectivity for lithium and sodium salts. This characteristic was used to construct specific chemosensors for lithium and fluoride ions, and to stabilize and characterize unusual molecules such as LiF.