Polyoxometalates represent a diverse range of molecular clusters with an almost unmatched range of physical properties and the ability to form structures that can bridge several length scales. The new building block principles that have been discovered are beginning to allow the design of complex clusters with desired properties and structures; several structural types and novel physical properties are examined herein. The overall message that is presented throughout is the possibility that polyoxometalate clusters could be excellent candidates to be exploited in the development of functional nanosystems or nanodevices. The concepts that underpin the development of nanoscale devices are discussed briefly, as are the considerable challenges that must be overcome to realise polyoxometalate-based functional nanosystems.
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