Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Technology: A Powerful, Generic, Facile and Cost Effective Alternative for Enantio-recognition and Separation: A Glance at Advances and Applications
The emerging Molecularly Imprinted Polymer (MIP) technology has yielded proof of concept, harnessing nature’s fundamentals to yield recognition receptor mimics from the miniaturized basics, borrowing on the ground rules, but conveniently avoiding the complexity, fragility, instability, costs and ethics of animal based bio-affinity matrices. Thus, the impact of bio-sciences on the future of technology is not via direct use of the molecules, but rather the lessons learned. Molecular imprinting is a powerful specialty representing the generic, cost effective and facile alternative for preparation of synthetic custom-tailored receptors. It achieves this via creation of specific selective recognition sites for a pre-determined analyte (called template) in a polymeric matrix. The template directs the molecular positioning and orientation of the material’s functional monomers. Cross-linking ensures polymer rigidity that “freezes” the 3-D molecular architecture of the binding cavity when the template is subsequently extracted. The immense potential of the emerging MIP technology is typified by enantio-separation. Beyond separation science, the MIP sorbents’ potential continues to impact and revolutionize sensor development, catalysis, toxin sequestration and in environmental metal-ion de-contamination problems.