Transmembrane Transport of copper(I) by Imidazole-Functionalised Calix[4]arenes

Synthetic carriers for various cations and anions have been reported, but here we present the first synthetic Cu+ transporters. A series of calix[4]arenes with two imidazole groups has been developed and their bidentate linear coordination motif allows the selective extraction of Cu+ into chloroform. Transmembrane transport of Cu+ into liposomes was investigated with a newly developed assay and opens the way to the further development of Cu+ ionophores for biomedical applications.