“Online/Offline”-Shiftable Imprinted Polymer Nanoreactor with Selective/Nonselective-Switchable Catalytic Ability

  • Tingting Zhou
  • Maiyong Zhu
  • Shuping Wu
  • Songjun Li


The realization of selective/nonselective-switchable catalytic ability remains a significant challenge in controlled catalytic processes. We herein report an originally-designed imprinted polymer nanoreactor capable of meeting this challenge. This nanoreactor was composed of Ag nanoparticles and a unique holothurian-inspired imprinted polymer carrier that contained mobile molecular chains. These mobile molecular chains, by motioning and lying motionless, enabled the imprinted carrier to function in an “online/offline”-shiftable paradigm, causing switchable access to the encapsulated metal nanoparticles. This nanoreactor showed selective catalytic ability at relatively low temperatures due to the “frozen” molecular chains, which allowed for substrate-selective access to the encapsulated metal nanoparticles (i.e., imprinted carrier’s “online” status). In contrast, this nanoreactor provided non-selective catalysis at relatively high temperatures in response to the increased mobility of these molecular chains, which resulted in dismantling the selective access (i.e., imprinted carrier’s “offline” status). Unlike reported imprinted polymer nanoreactors which simply provide selective catalysis, this novel nanoreactor allows selective/nonselective-switchable catalysis in virtue of the bio-inspired design. This study opens up opportunities to modulate catalytic selectivity for controlled chemical processes.


Smart imprinted polymers Catalytic nanoreactors Metal nanoparticles 



The authors want to express their gratitude to the National Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51473070, 21403091). Thanks also should be expressed to the Jiangsu Province for support under both the innovation/entrepreneurship program (Surencaiban [2015]26) and the scientific research program (BK20130486).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tingting Zhou
    • 1
  • Maiyong Zhu
    • 1
  • Shuping Wu
    • 1
  • Songjun Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Polymer Materials, School of Materials Science and EngineeringJiangsu UniversityZhenjiangPeople’s Republic of China

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