Nanoparticles (NPs) and molecular/supramolecular switches have attracted considerable interest during the past decade on account of their unique properties and prominent roles in the fields of organic chemistry and materials science. Materials derived from the combination of these two components are now emerging in the literature. This critical review evaluates materials which comprise NPs functionalised with well-defined self-assembled monolayers of molecular and supramolecular switches. We draw attention to the fact that immobilisation of switches on NPs does not, in general, hamper their switching ability, although it can impart new properties on the supporting particles. This premise leads us to the discussion of systems in which switching on the surfaces of NPs can be used to modulate reversibly a range of NP properties - optical, fluorescent, electrical, magnetic - as well as the controlled release of small molecules. Finally, we discuss examples in which molecular switches direct reversible self-assembly of NPs (308 references).
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