This review describes a multidimensional treatment of molecular recognition phenomena involving aromatic rings in chemical and biological systems. It summarizes new results reported since the appearance of an earlier review in 2003 in host–guest chemistry, biological affinity assays and biostructural analysis, data base mining in the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) and the Protein Data Bank (PDB), and advanced computational studies. Topics addressed are arene–arene, perfluoroarene–arene, S⋅⋅⋅aromatic, cation–π, and anion–π interactions, as well as hydrogen bonding to π systems. The generated knowledge benefits, in particular, structure-based hit-to-lead development and lead optimization both in the pharmaceutical and in the crop protection industry. It equally facilitates the development of new advanced materials and supramolecular systems, and should inspire further utilization of interactions with aromatic rings to control the stereochemical outcome of synthetic transformations.
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