From the greek 'calix' meaning bowl, and the suffix 'arene' which usually means aromatic ring. Linked phenyl groups like:

c12cc(C(C)(C)(C))cc(c2O) C c3cc(C(C)(C)(C))cc(c3O)
C c4cc(C(C)(C)(C))cc(c4O) C c5cc(C(C)(C)(C))cc(c5O) C1

The linking methylene groups are separated to empahise the fourfold symmetry. The (C(C)(C)(C)) moeties are bulky t-butyl groups that form the 'rim' of the bowl, and are para- to the hydroxyls which form the base.

If the t-Bu are replaced with charged sulphate groups, and a corresponding calixarene with positively charged trimethyl amino groups is constructed - a complex can form. Think of two eggcups with velcro on thier rims (hooks on one and loops on the other) stacked to form a hollow cavity.

      /     \
     / T O P \
       -----  <----Cavity
     \ B O T /

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