On planet Earth, water is everywhere: the majority of the surface is covered with it; it is a key component of all life; its vapour and droplets fill the lower atmosphere; and even rocks contain it and undergo geomorphological changes because of it. A community of physical scientists largely drives studies of the chemistry of water and aqueous solutions, with expertise in biochemistry, spectroscopy and computer modelling. More recently, however, supramolecular chemists — with their expertise in macrocyclic synthesis and measuring supramolecular interactions — have renewed their interest in water-mediated non-covalent interactions. These two groups offer complementary expertise that, if harnessed, offer to accelerate our understanding of aqueous supramolecular chemistry and water writ large. This Review summarizes the state-of-the-art of the two fields, and highlights where there is latent chemical space for collaborative exploration by the two groups.
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The authors wish to express their sincere gratitude to the National Science Foundation for its generous support (NSF CHE-1450865) of a workshop that brought together the physical and supramolecular communities to discuss aqueous supramolecular chemistry. The authors also thank the participants of the workshop for their commitment to its success: H. Allen, E. Anslyn, P. Arora, H. Ashbaugh, D. Ben-Amotz, S. Bradforth, M. Cloninger, M. Duncan, A. Fuller, M. Gunner, M. Hillyer, R. Hooley, L. Isaacs, J. Jayawickramarajah, D. Johnson, M. Levine, N. Levinger, Y. Liu, P. Petersen, V. Pierre, L. Pratt, B. Rogers, J. Sessler, K. Sharp, B. Smith, D. Tobias, A. Urbach, B. Wang, M. Waters, S. Xantheas, C. Zanette and S. Zimmerman.
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Cremer, P., Flood, A., Gibb, B. et al. Collaborative routes to clarifying the murky waters of aqueous supramolecular chemistry. Nature Chem 10, 8–16 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2894
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