, Volume 402, Issue 10, pp 3245-3252
Date: 08 Dec 2011

Optical sensors with molecularly imprinted nanospheres: a promising approach for robust and label-free detection of small molecules

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Molecularly imprinted nanospheres obtained by miniemulsion polymerization have been applied as the sensitive layer for label-free direct optical sensing of small molecules. Using these particles as the sensitive layer allowed for improving response times in comparison to sensors using MIP layers. As a model compound, well-characterized nanospheres imprinted against l-Boc-phenylalanine anilide (l-BFA) were chosen. For immobilization, a simple concept based on electrostatic adsorption was used, showing its applicability to different types of surfaces, leading to a good surface coverage. The sensor showed short response times, good selectivity, and high reversibility with a limit of detection down to 60 μM and a limit of quantitation of 94 μM. Furthermore, reproducibility, selectivity, and long-term stability of the sensitive layers were tested. The best results were achieved with an adsorption on aminopropylsilane layers, showing a chip-to-chip reproducibility of 22%. Furthermore, the sensors showed no loss in signal after a storage time of 1 year.

Published in the topical collection Biomimetic Recognition Elements for Sensing Applications with guest editor María Cruz Moreno-Bondi.