Solvents are not just bystanders
Up until now there has been a broad consensus in the literature which considered solvents to be inert media for different molecular processes. It is this concept on which most phenomenological understanding relies, such as “linear solvation free energy relations” or “continuum solvation” approaches. Transcending this traditional view, solvents are now increasingly recognized as playing an active role in their own right, ranging from solvent-mediated to solvent-controlled and even to solvent-driven processes.
The most recent advances in experiment and theory allow one to probe, describe, and even influence the structure, dynamics, and kinetics of complex solvation phenomena at the molecular level. Therefore, the time has come to develop a universal concept of solvation which can not only describe solvents in general, but is additionally able to predict properties of new solvent systems.