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Smart Materials Based on Synthetic Host Molecules: The Role of Host–Guest Chemistry in the Fabrication and Application

Smart materials that can respond to stimuli have the potential to revolutionize many fields such as the chemical and medical industries. This Minireview summarizes the recent development in smart materials based on synthetic host molecules (SHMs) and their associated host–guest chemistry. The role of the host–guest recognition in the material's fabrication and application is highlighted. Understanding the responsiveness of smart materials at the molecular level should empower researchers to design and prepare extremely intelligent systems that can complement the rising demands on automation and robotics.


Stimuli-responsive or smart materials have recently shown a significant impact on the frontier of material science and engineering. The exponential development of synthetic host molecules (SHMs) over the last decades and their corresponding host–guest chemistry, have empowered researchers with new opportunities to design and construct tailored or guest-specific smart materials. In this Minireview, we present the recent advancements in synthetic host based smart materials, ranging from the fabrication strategies to the state-of-art applications including adsorption, separation, luminescence, self-healing and actuation. The role that the host–guest chemistry plays in these systems is highlighted throughout to give a better prospective of the available possibilities for emerging materials of future economies.

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