Solute-Solvent Interactions in Modern Physical Organic Chemistry: Supramolecular Polymers as a Muse

Mathijs F. J. Mabesoone, Anja R. A. Palmans, and E. W. Meijer

Published: 25 November 2020


Interactions between solvents and solutes are a cornerstone of physical organic chemistry and have been the subject of investigations over the last century. In recent years, a renewed interest in fundamental aspects of solute–solvent interactions has been sparked in the field of supramolecular chemistry in general and that of supramolecular polymers in particular. Although solvent effects in supramolecular chemistry have been recognized for a long time, the unique opportunities that supramolecular polymers offer to gain insight into solute–solvent interactions have become clear relatively recently. The multiple interactions that hold the supramolecular polymeric structure together are similar in strength to those between solute and solvent. The cooperativity found in ordered supramolecular polymers leads to the possibility of amplifying these solute–solvent effects and will shed light on extremely subtle solvation phenomena. As a result, many exciting effects of solute–solvent interactions in modern physical organic chemistry can be studied using supramolecular polymers. Our aim is to put the recent progress into a historical context and provide avenues toward a more comprehensive understanding of solvents in multicomponent supramolecular systems.

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