Supramolecular chemistry has been defined as “chemistry beyond the molecule” and is concerned with complex molecular interactions. Through the study of these interctions we can design molecules capable of very specific functions. Our work on the synthesis of molecular hosts and their recognition properties has been widely published and has found its way into the mainstream through the publication a textbook, A Practical Guide to Supramolecular Chemistry, and a monograph, Supramolecular chemistry: from biological inspiration to biomedical applications. Supramolecular chemical principles have been applied to the molecular recognition of cations by tubular compounds called pillararenes that can be incorporated in sensors and which are active across the physiological range of sodium concentrations. Our recent interest in these compounds led to the first review of pillararenes in Chemical Society Reviews which is being cited on a weekly basis.
We are also interested in predicting supramolecular behaviour using computer models. Work funded by the EPSRC has given us a much better idea of the limits of this technique and led to valuable computational protocols. The results have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Chemical Communications and Supramolecular Chemistry.