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Potassium selective calix[4]semitubes

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A new class of ionophore consisting of two calix[4]arene units linked through the lower rim by two ethylene chains, in combination with propyl ether and phenolic functional groups, has been developed. These calix[4]semitube molecules exhibit remarkable selectivity and fast complexation kinetics for potassium over all Group 1 metal cations. Molecular modelling studies, using structural models derived from crystallographic data, suggest the potassium cation is complexed by a horizontal, side-on route and not through the calix[4]arene annulus. The length of the bridging alkylene chain between the respective calix[4]arenes of the semitube structure dictates the strength and selectivity of alkali metal cation binding.

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