Molecularly imprinted polymers have been prepared in various configurations including, for example, polymer beads, monoliths and membranes for different applications. The most common form of imprinted polymer is, however, still the irregularly shaped particle obtained by grinding the traditional, macroporous polymer monolith. We herein present a novel and efficient approach leading to imprinted microspheres, i.e. microgels bearing binding sites specific to target molecules. Imprinted microgels are proposed to be the basic components in previously reported, molecularly imprinted, cross-linked polymers, although the polymers themselves may exist in different forms depending on the preparation method utilised. Chemical modification of the molecularly imprinted microspheres introduces additional functionalities that may be used to couple sensing elements in various assay formats, or for the immobilisation of the imprinted microspheres on various transducers towards the development of biomimetic sensors.
- molecular imprinting
- precipitation polymerisation