Probing the recognition of molecularly imprinted polymer beads

Qendresa Osmani, Helen Hughes, Peter McLoughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


A facile, robust and cost-effective suspension polymerisation methodology for the generation of ibuprofen molecularly imprinted polymers in bead formats was evaluated. Mineral oil was employed as the continuous phase whereby microdroplets of the pre-polymerisation mixture were formed through vigorous agitation, followed by photo-polymerisation resulting in formation of imprinted beads. For comparison purposes, irregular particles were also prepared from monolith polymers. Physical characteristics of the imprinted polymers were investigated using scanning electron microscope, particle size distribution, nitrogen sorption porosimetry and solvent swelling ratios, with subsequent correlation of these parameters to analyte rebinding performance. Overall, an increase in affinity was observed with decreasing the degree of cross-linking, however, specific rebinding was compromised. An inverse relationship between polymer affinity for the template and surface area was identified, while solvent swelling ratios were directly related to polymer affinity. Correlation between pre-polymerisation studies and polymer binding performance highlighted the significance of employing the polymerisation solvent in template rebinding in order to achieve superior recognition capabilities. Additionally, shape selectivity of binding sites was demonstrated by the decreased binding performance of template structural analogues to the imprinted polymer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2218-2227
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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