Molecular Imprinting: State of the Art and Perspectives
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Molecular recognition is central to how biological systems work. The molecular imprinting technique is a valuable polymerisation method for preparing synthetic materials able to mimic the molecular recognition phenomena present in living systems. A molecule that acts as a template is associated with functional monomers to form a complex by means of covalent linkages or noncovalent interactions. A polymerisation-crosslinking reaction is then performed around this complex. Upon removal of the template species, functionalised cavities, that have memorized the special features and bonding preferences of the template, are left inside the polymer network. A large number of potential applications for this class materials are being intensively developed, for example as chromatographic stationary phases or as stereospecific catalyst. To improve this technique, the challenge is now to rationalize the necessary stiffness of the network with the expansion of its capacity. From this perspective, the use of materials involving supramolecular organisation is of great interest to bring closer to the biological processes and so to improve the recognition properties.
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