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Putting Anion–π Interactions Into Perspective

Authors

  • Prof. Antonio Frontera,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departament de Química, Universitat de les Illes Balears, 07122 Palma de Mallorca (Spain)
    • Departament de Química, Universitat de les Illes Balears, 07122 Palma de Mallorca (Spain)
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  • Prof. Patrick Gamez,

    Corresponding author
    1. ICREA and Departament de Química Inorgànica, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1-11, 08028 Barcelona (Spain)
    • ICREA and Departament de Química Inorgànica, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1-11, 08028 Barcelona (Spain)
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  • Prof. Mark Mascal,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry, University of California Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 (USA)
    • Department of Chemistry, University of California Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 (USA)
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  • Tiddo J. Mooibroek,

    Corresponding author
    1. Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden (The Netherlands)
    • Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden (The Netherlands)
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  • Prof. Jan Reedijk

    Corresponding author
    1. Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden (The Netherlands)
    2. Department of Chemistry, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451 (Saudi Arabia)
    • Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden (The Netherlands)
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Abstract

Supramolecular chemistry is a field of scientific exploration that probes the relationship between molecular structure and function. It is the chemistry of the noncovalent bond, which forms the basis of highly specific recognition, transport, and regulation events that actuate biological processes. The classic design principles of supramolecular chemistry include strong, directional interactions like hydrogen bonding, halogen bonding, and cation–π complexation, as well as less directional forces like ion pairing, π–π, solvophobic, and van der Waals potentials. In recent years, the anion–π interaction (an attractive force between an electron-deficient aromatic π system and an anion) has been recognized as a hitherto unexplored noncovalent bond, the nature of which has been interpreted through both experimental and theoretical investigations. The design of selective anion receptors and channels based on this interaction represent important advances in the field of supramolecular chemistry. The objectives of this Review are 1) to discuss current thinking on the nature of this interaction, 2) to survey key experimental work in which anion–π bonding is demonstrated, and 3) to provide insights into the directional nature of anion–π contact in X-ray crystal structures.

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