Derivatives of the four conformational isomers, cone, partial-cone, 1-2-alternate, and 1,3-alternate of calixarene has been given focused. Aside from the homologues of calixarene, there are also important groups of related macrocycles, where the methylene group of the normal calixarene is replaced by various other units. Calixarene-based ion sensor developments with emphasis upon analysis of the photophysical mechanisms which determine sensor properties is also discussed. Promising results have been obtained for calixarenes immobilized on a matrix suitable for use with aqueous media and with calixarenes functionalized to make water-soluble. Calixarenes' unique topology offers a wide range of scaffolds, enabling them to encapsulate different ions. They can be used for the determination of alkali-metal ions for which the design of effective complexing agents is generally difficult.
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