From metal ions to biospecies: template-assisted synthesis as a strategy to generate artificial receptor materials

Peter A. Lieberzeit1*,  Sadia Bajwa1,  Ghulam Mustafa1,  Thipvaree Wangchareansak2,  Franz L. Dickert1

1University of Vienna, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Währinger Strasse 39, 1090 Vienna, Austria

2Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

Adv. Mater. Lett., 2011, 2 (5), pp 319-321

DOI: 10.5185/amlett.2011.1024am2011

Publication Date (Web): Apr 08, 2012



Materials science increasingly focuses on generating “smart”, i.e. highly functional, advanced matrices. Selective recognition can be implemented into man-made polymers by template-assisted synthesis. The method covers a surprising size range: it is possible to generate sensitivity and selectivity towards bivalent metal cations, such as Cu2+, in polyacrylate matrices. Despite the template being substantially smaller in size than the monomers, recognition can be achieved. Furthermore, acrylates can be templated with much larger species, such as influenza viruses. This leads to a nanostructured polymer surface that selectively re-binds the respective virion. Additional enhancement of sensitivity can be achieved by composite materials. Silver sulphide nanoparticles for instance show very appreciable affinity towards butanol vapors. When blending into butanol-imprinted polyurethane, the material incorporates three times more of the alcohol.


Molecular imprinting, metal ion sensing, composite materials, virus imprinting, sensor

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