Polyoxometalates represent a diverse range of molecular clusters with an almost unmatched range of physical properties and the ability to form structures that can bridge several length scales. The new building block principles that have been discovered are beginning to allow the design of complex clusters with desired properties and structures and several structural types and novel physical properties are examined. In this critical review the synthetic and design approaches to the many polyoxometalate cluster types are presented encompassing all the sub-types of polyoxometalates including, isopolyoxometalates, heteropolyoxometalates, and reduced molybdenum blue systems. As well as the fundamental structure and bonding aspects, the final section is devoted to discussing these clusters in the context of contemporary and emerging interdisciplinary interests from areas as diverse as anti-viral agents, biological ion transport models, and materials science.
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