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Crown Ether‐Based Ion Transporters in Bilayer Membranes

Bilayer membranes that enhance the stability of the cell are essential for cell survival, separating and protecting the interior of the cell from its external environment. Membrane-based channel proteins are crucial for sustaining cellular activities. However, dysfunction of these proteins would induce serial channelopathies, which could be substituted by artificial ion channel analogs. Crown ethers (CEs) are widely studied in the area of artificial ion channels owing to their intrinsic host-guest interaction with different kinds of organic and inorganic ions. Other advantages such as lower price, chemical stability, and easier modification also make CE a research hotspot in the field of synthetic transmembrane nanopores. And numerous CEs-based membrane-active synthetic ion channels were designed and fabricated in the past decades. Herein, the recent progress of CEs-based synthetic ion transporters has been comprehensively summarized in this review, including their design principles, functional mechanisms, controllable properties, and biomedical applications. Furthermore, this review has been concluded by discussing the future opportunities and challenges facing this research field. It is anticipated that this review could offer some inspiration for the future fabrication of novel CEs-derived ion transporters with more advanced structures, properties, and practical applications.

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