Molecular imprinting, artificial receptors, plastic antibodies are terms associated with synthetic materials capable of chemical and biological sensing. Through the years, these sensors have advanced greatly not only in analytical chemistry; they have high utility for environmental, health, security, military, etc. monitoring and separations applications. New transduction methods and miniaturization have enabled in-situ and real-time sensing capabilities. On the other hand, they have high utility as matrices for chemical and biological separations. The challenge of employing molecularly imprinted polymers or MIPs as receptors lie in demonstrating high selectivity and sensitivity. Robustness and cost are also important considerations. Traditional methods of monolith polymerization employing free radical polymerization mechanisms have yielded good performance but lack the ability to demonstrate repeatable selectivity and sensitivity. Thin films have been deemed to be more useful in sensing applications, but may not offer the right throughput for separations applications. Engineering optimized materials require not only adapting to new chemistries but also knowing their structure-property relationships.
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