Molecularly Imprinted Polymers
Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are polymers formed in the presence of a template molecule. Removal of the template from the polymer matrix creates complementary binding sites with affinity and selectivity for the template molecule. Molecularly imprinted polymers are attractive materials capable of molecular recognition because of their versatility, ease of preparation, and robust physical and chemical properties. Molecularly imprinted polymers have been developed as stationary phases in chromatographic settings, heterogeneous catalysts in organic synthesis, and as sensors for a wide array of biologically relevant compounds. This review seeks to highlight the utility of MIPs and their potential in commercial applications. We begin by describing the primary approaches to preparing MIPs, and then discuss their success in various applications. We conclude with an eye to the future and suggest where the imprinting field may be heading.