Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 402, Issue 10, pp 3245–3252 | Cite as

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

  • Felix KolarovEmail author
  • Klaus Niedergall
  • Monika Bach
  • Günter E. M. Tovar
  • Günter Gauglitz
Original Paper


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.


Molecularly imprinted polymer RIfS Label free Optical sensors Miniemulsion polymerization l-BFA 



The work presented in this paper was funded by the “Biomimetischer Prozesssensor” research project funded by the Ministry of Science and Culture (Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur), Baden Württemberg.

Supplementary material

216_2011_5592_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (32 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 31.6 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felix Kolarov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Klaus Niedergall
    • 2
  • Monika Bach
    • 2
  • Günter E. M. Tovar
    • 2
  • Günter Gauglitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Physical and Theoretical ChemistryTübingen UniversityTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Interfacial Engineering IGVTUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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