Azobenzene-based supramolecular photochromic scaffold for the light-controlled binding and release of the guest molecules such as anions, cations, and neutral molecules have been demonstrated. These smart photochromic-hosts display light-induced change in molecular recognition and thus can act as the light-driven delivery vehicle for the external analytes.
Molecular switches have been used as delivery vehicles for various molecular and ionic species. The ones that reversibly operate with light are arguably the best candidates for the purpose as they can be operated using light. The two states of these photoswitchable systems often possess remarkable differences in terms of their structural features and electronic properties. Photochromic systems with the appropriate embellishment of functionalities at suitable positions have thus been used as photoresponsive receptors. The use of light-driven alterations of the structural features has led to differential molecular recognition with these switchable host molecules. In this article, we discuss the use of such supramolecular systems as the delivery vehicles for ions and molecules that started with the pioneering work by Shinkai back in 1979. This review will explicitly cover the development from 2001 to 2022 with some past background and the future prospects of the field.Zum Volltext