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Chem Soc Rev. 2007 Feb;36(2):267-79. Epub 2006 Nov 7.

Functionalized cucurbiturils and their applications.

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  • 1National Creative Research Initiative Center for Smart Supramolecules, Department of Chemistry, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang 790-784, Republic of Korea. kkim@postech.ac.kr

Abstract

Cucurbit[n]uril (CB[n], n = 5-10), a new family of molecular hosts comprising n glycoluril units, have gained much attention in the new millennium for their exceptional molecular recognition ability. The CB homologues have brought dynamism to CB chemistry, as witnessed by the heightened interest in the field for the last several years. Compared to the chemistry of cyclodextrins and calixarenes, however, that of CB[n] has developed slowly until recently, which may be attributed mainly to their poor solubility in common solvents, and inability to functionalize these molecules. The direct functionalization method of CB[n] propelled CB chemistry to a new height as this new method not only solved the solubility problem but also opened up the gateway to the generation of tailor-made CB[n] derivatives. The functionalization of CB[n] led us to investigate numerous applications including artificial ion channels, vesicles, stationary phases in chromatography, ISEs, polymers, nanomaterials, and many others. This tutorial review describes the recent advances and challenges in the functionalization of CBs along with the applications of functionalized CBs.

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