This review highlights the past six year advances in the blossoming field of cucurbit[n]uril chemistry. Because of their exceptional recognition properties in aqueous medium, these pumpkin-shaped macrocycles have been generating some tremendous interest in the supramolecular community. They have also become key units in various self-organizing and stimulus-controlled assemblies, as well as in advanced materials and drug carriers. The scope of this review is limited to the main family of cucurbit[n]urils (n = 5, 6, 7, 8, 10). The reader will find an overview of their preparation, their physicochemical and biological properties, as well as their recognition abilities towards various organic and inorganic guests. Detailed thermodynamic and kinetic considerations, as well as multiple applications including supramolecular catalysis are also discussed.
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