chapter  1
10 Pages

Introduction and Overview

Noncovalent interactions are the basis of the most impressive functions of living systems. After some early explorations started by Cramer in the 1950s1 chemists have begun, in recent decades, to systematically explore the unlimited possibilities and promise of such interactions in the framework of supramolecular chemistry. Several books and many reviews describe the principles and achievements of this very fast developing ˆeld.2 As outlined by J.-M. Lehn in the foreword, there are already several phases in this still relatively new chapter of science, ranging from understanding of the relevant interaction mechanisms3 to manifold possible applications.4 It has been pointed out that three periods characterize the introduction of a new technology: “(I) In the beginning, there is a period of exaggerated expectations, during which exciting-but sometimes irreproducible-results and unrealistic claims are made. (II) When these high expectations go unmet, a period of disappointment sets in. (III) There is then a return to the fundamental aspects of the technology; science is linked with applications; new tools are developed; and real commercial investment begins.”5 It seems safe to say that supramolecular chemistry has now reached phase III of such development, which warrants publication of a new book outlining applications. It is hoped that the present monograph provides help for researchers and engineers who want to make more practical use of supramolecular complexations and, in particular, for students who are taking corresponding courses. Until now, there are, besides an older volume,4 only some reviews and countless original papers that discuss practical applications of noncovalent interactions. In the present

Introduction ................................................................................................................1 Overview on Some Special Applications ..............................................................1