Metallosupramolecular receptors for fullerene binding and release
Fullerene extracts are easily available from fullerene soot, but finding an efficient strategy to obtain them in pure form remains elusive, especially for higher fullerenes (Cx, x > 70). The properties of the latter remain unclear and their potential application to multiple research fields has not been developed mainly due to their purification difficulties. In this Tutorial Review we cover the use of molecular receptors for the separation of fullerenes by means of host–guest interactions. This strategy allows gaining selectivity, no specialized equipment is required and, ideally, recyclable systems can be designed. We focus on the metallosupramolecular receptors using the metal–ligand coordination approach, which offers a controlled and versatile strategy to design fullerene hosts, and the latest strategies to release the fullerene guest will be described. The field is probably in its beginnings but it is rapidly evolving and we are confident that this tutorial review will help researchers to rapidly gain a general overview of the main works and concepts that are leading this promising strategy and that may lead towards a useful methodology to purify fullerenes.