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  1. Self-assembled Fe4 L 6 cage complexes with variable internal functions can be synthesized from a 2,7-dibromocarbazole ligand scaffold, which orients six functional groups to the cage interior. Both ethylthiomethylether and ethyldimethylamino groups can be incorporated. The cages show strong ligand-centered fluorescence emission and a broad range of guest binding properties. Coencapsulation of neutral organic guests is favored in the larger, unfunctionalized cage cavity, whereas the thioether cage has a more sterically hindered cavity that favors 1 : 1 guest binding. Binding affinities up to 10 6 M −1 in CH3 CN are seen. The dimethylamino cage is more complex, as the internal amines display partial protonation and can be deprotonated by amine bases. This amine cage displays affinity for a broad range of neutral organic substrates, with affinities and stoichiometries comparable to that of the similarly sized thioether cage. These species show that simple variations in ligand backbone allow variations in the number and type of functions that can be displayed towards the cavity of self-assembled hosts, which will have applications in biomimetic sensing, catalysis and molecular recognition. 
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  2. An arrayed combination of water-soluble deep cavitands and cationic dyes has been shown to optically sense insect pheromones at micromolar concentration in water. Machine learning approaches were used to optimize the most effective array components, which allows differentiation between small structural differences in targets, including between different diastereomers, even though the pheromones have no innate chromophore. When combined with chiral additives, enantiodiscrimination is possible, dependent on the size and shape of the pheromone. 
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  3. Abstract

    Spacious M4L6tetrahedra can act as catalytic inhibitors for base‐mediated reactions. Upon adding only 5 % of a self‐assembled Fe4L6cage complex, the conversion of the conjugate addition between ethylcyanoacetate and β‐nitrostyrene catalyzed by proton sponge can be reduced from 83 % after 75 mins at ambient temperature to <1 % under identical conditions. The mechanism of the catalytic inhibition is unusual: the octacationic Fe4L6cage increases the acidity of exogenous water in the acetonitrile reaction solvent by favorably binding the conjugate acid of the basic catalyst. The inhibition only occurs for Fe4L6hosts with spacious internal cavities: minimal inhibition is seen with smaller tetrahedra or Fe2L3helicates. The surprising tendency of the cationic cage to preferentially bind protonated, cationic ammonium guests is quantified via the comprehensive modeling of spectrophotometric titration datasets.

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  4. null (Ed.)
    A spacious Fe( ii )-iminopyridine self-assembled cage complex can catalyze the oxidative dimerization of alkanethiols, with air as stoichiometric oxidant. The reaction is aided by selective molecular recognition of the reactants, and the active catalyst is derived from the Fe( ii ) centers that provide the structural vertices of the host. The host is even capable of size-selective oxidation and can discriminate between alkanethiols of identical reactivity, based solely on size. 
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