A new family of polynorbornane frameworks exhibiting conformationally preorganized aromatic thiourea (cleft-like) receptors have been designed and synthesized for anion recognition. These show excellent affinity for the biologically relevant dihydrogenphosphate (H2PO4-) and dihydrogenpyrophosphate (H2P2O72-) anions (among others), which are bound in 1:1 and 2:1 (host:anion) ratio, respectively. Moreover, visually striking color changes accompany guest binding, enabling this family to act as colorimetric anion sensors.
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