Advanced Materials

Visual-Size Molecular Recognition Based on Gels



Since their discovery, stimuli-responsive organogels have garnered considerable and increasing attention from a broad range of research fields. In consideration of an one-dimensional ordered relay in anisotropic phase, the assembled gel networks can amplify various properties of the functional moieties possessed by the gelator molecules. Recently, substantial efforts have been focused on the development of facile, straightforward, and low-cost molecular recognition approaches by using nanostructured gel matrices as visual sensing platforms. In this research news, the recent progresses in macroscopic or visual-size molecular recognition for a number of homologues, isomers, and anions, as well as extremely challenging chiral enantiomers, using polymer and molecular gels are reviewed. Several strategies – including guest molecular competition, hydrogen-bonding blocking, and metal-coordination – for visual discrimination are included. Finally, the future trends and potential application in facile visual-size molecular recognition based on organogel matrices are highlighted.