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Keywords:

  • Template synthesis;
  • Self-assembly;
  • Supramolecular chemistry

Abstract

Although the principle of template synthesis has been known since the sixties, surprising discoveries and new applications in the field of supramolecular chemistry over the last decade have provoked a boom in the subject. The synthesis of supramolecular species has been made much more efficient, or even in some cases possible, by the introduction of template ions or molecules. It is not just metal ions that can act as templates. Neutral molecules, electrostatic interactions, and hydrogen bonds also support the formation of binary and tertiary complexes. Energetically favorable conformations then lead to the formation of a specific desired product in high yield. In addition to the discussion of metal ions and neutral molecules as templates, covalent, positive, and negative templates are differentiated. Kinetic and thermodynamic aspects will also be considered in this review, together with the influence of templates on the phenomenon of self-organization. Further developments and applications include the synthesis of oligonucleotides, peptide blocks capable of forming secondary structure, and template polymers. Template synthesis of defined molecular cavities ultimately leads to “inclusion chemistry on a nanometer scale.”