Polyoxometalates: Building Blocks for Functional Nanoscale Systems



Polyoxometalates (POMs) are a subset of metal oxides that represent a diverse range of molecular clusters with an almost unmatched range of physical properties and the ability to form dynamic structures that can range in size from the nano- to the micrometer scale. Herein we present the very latest developments from synthesis to structure and function of POMs. We discuss the possibilities of creating highly sophisticated functional hierarchical systems with multiple, interdependent, functionalities along with a critical analysis that allows the non-specialist to learn the salient features. We propose and present a “periodic table of polyoxometalate building blocks”. We also highlight some of the current issues and challenges that need to be addressed to work towards the design of functional systems based upon POM building blocks and look ahead to possible emerging application areas.