Recognition Receptors in Biosensors

pp 751-775


Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Receptors for Sensors and Arrays

  • Glen E. Southard
  • , George M. MurrayAffiliated withDepartment of Materials Science and Engineering, Center for Laser Applications, University of Tennessee Space Institute Email author 

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Molecular imprinting is a process for making selective binding sites in synthetic polymers. The process may be approached by designing the recognition site or by simply choosing monomers that may have favorable interactions with the imprinting molecule. The successful application of the methodology to biochemical sensing typically requires the designed approach. The process involves building a complex of an imprint molecule and complementary polymerizable ligating monomers. At least one of the molecular complements must exhibit a discernable physical change associated with binding. This change in property can be any measurable quantity, but a change in luminescence is the most sensitive and selective analytical technique. By copolymerizing the complexes with a matrix monomer and a suitable level of crosslinking monomer, the imprint complex becomes bound in a polymeric network. The network may need to be mechanically and chemically processed to liberate the imprinting species and create the binding site. The design of the binding site requires insights into its chemistry. These insights are derived from studies of molecular recognition and self-assembly and include considerations of molecular geometry, size, and shape, as well as molecule-to-ligand thermodynamic affinity.

This chapter explores the use of molecular imprinting in the construction of sensors for biomolecules and biological constructs. It is not a review, but rather a tutorial aimed at exploring the different ways molecularly imprinted receptors can aid in the determination of biomolecules. It begins with a brief history of molecular imprinting and follows with a description of the major approaches. A description of the types of molecules used to make imprints, both inorganic and organic, is given. The different polymer morphologies are explored. Sensor transduction strategies compatible with imprinted receptors are described. A few examples of sensors based on each of the described transduction are described to illustrate the wide range of sensors that have been prepared using molecular imprinting. An attempt is made to discuss what remains to be done with imprinting and sensing in the future.


Molecularly imprinted polymers Biosensors Synthetic Receptors Receptor arrays