Molecularly Imprinted Polymers Based On Fluorescent And Template Binding Cross-Linker
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The synthesis of materials with molecular recognition properties has become a topic of great technological and scientific interest. Molecular imprinting is one of the most effective strategies in preparing highly selective synthetic receptors. The technique of molecular imprinting involves the copolymerization of functional and cross-linking monomers in the presence of a molecular template. Following polymerization and subsequent removal of the template, the molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) retains a “molecular memory” of the template. During rebinding, the resultant polymer shows higher affinity and selectivity towards the molecular template when compared to other structural analogs. Ease of preparation and high thermal and chemical stability of this class of materials offers a broad range of potential applications. Promising areas of application include separation, chromatography, catalysis, sensors, antibody mimics, and drug delivery etc. The thesis entitled “Molecularly Imprinted Polymers based on Fluorescent and Template binding Cross-linker” deals with the design and synthesis of several molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) using different functional and cross-linking monomers, the main focus being use of preformed template-monomer complex, use of fluorescent cross-linker and development of functional group containing cross-linker. Chapter 1: An Introduction to Molecularly Imprinted Polymers. The first chapter provides an introduction to the field of molecularly imprinted polymers. It presents an overview of molecular imprinting process including a brief history of its discovery and its evolution to the present form. This chapter further elaborates on the principle of molecular imprinting with an emphasis on different parameters that directly affect their performance. It also provides a brief review of the applications of molecularly imprinted polymers. Chapter 2: Highly Cross-linked Metal Ion Imprinted Polymers. The second chapter deals with the synthesis of series of highly cross-linked metal-ion imprinted polymers. The process of metal ion-imprinting usually involves carrying out the polymerization and cross-linking directly in presence of the appropriate metal ion. In the present study, chemical-immobilization method was adopted which involves the use of preformed metal complexes with polymerizable group for the imprinting. Acrylate complexes of various metal-ions, such as Cu2+, Zn2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Pb2+ and Cr3+, were synthesized prior to polymerization. These pre-assembled complexes were then used to prepare MIPs, in the anticipation that this would lead to enhanced selectivity. Ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) was used as the cross-linking monomer. As a control, the respective non-imprinted polymers (NIPs) were also made in absence of the template metal ion. Following polymerization, the template metal ion was extracted from the resultant metal ion-imprinted polymer. The selectivity of the metal ion-imprinted polymers was examined by a batch process using analytical tools, such as, Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) and Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy (ICP). The spectroscopic studies revealed significant selectivity of all the MIPs towards the template metal ion. Among all six metal ion-imprinted polymers, Pb2+ and Cr3+ ion-imprinted polymer showed remarkable selectivity, followed by Cu2+ and Zn2+ ion-imprinted polymers. The Co2+ and Ni2+ ion-imprinted polymers exhibited comparatively poor selectivity. Representative plots depicting the selectivity exhibited by Pb2+ and Cr3+ ion-imprinted polymers are shown in Figure 1. These observations were rationalized based on the size and geometric preferences imposed by the imprinted site on the ion that binds to it. Figure 1. Selectivity study for (a) Pb2+ ion-imprinted polymer, (b) Cr3+ ion-imprinted polymer. Chapter 3. Molecularly Imprinted Fluorescent Chemosensor for Copper (II). Cu(II) is a source of important pollutant and therefore, the development of sensors that can detect Cu(II) selectively as well as remove Cu(II) from contaminated samples is an important objective. The use of molecular imprinting technique is an appealing approach in this regard. For this, a fluorophore containing cross-linker, namely 9,10-bis-(acryloyloxymethyl)anthracene (BAMA) was synthesized. This fluorescent cross-linker was used along with the standard cross-linker, EGDMA, for preparing Cu2+ ion-imprinted polymer. The complex of copper methacrylate (Cu-MAA) was prepared prior to polymerization used for the preparation of MIP. The resultant imprinted polymer exhibited quenching of the fluorescence in presence of Cu2+ ion, both in organic and aqueous medium. The efficiency of quenching of NIP (prepared in absence of Cu2+ ion) was significantly lower than that of MIP. A typical stack spectra showing the quenching process, along with a comparison of the quenching efficiency of MIP and NIP is shown in Figure 2. The imprinted polymers showed significant selectivity over other non-template metal ions, thereby reaffirming the importance of the imprinting process. The sensitivity of the fluorescence detection could be enhanced by increasing the level of the fluorophore incorporation. The increased sensitivity in detecting Cu2+ ion, demonstrated by the MIP suggests that a statistically random incorporation of the fluorophore into MIP matrices could be a useful approach for imparting a sensing element to MIPs. Figure 2. Fluorescence spectra of the (a) imprinted (MIP-1) and (b) non-imprinted (NIP-1) polymers in the presence of various concentration of Cu(OAc)2 in methanol. (c) Comparison of quenching efficiency of MIP-1 and NIP-1. Data were collected 3 h after addition of copper solution. I0 and I are the fluorescence intensities at 399 nm of the polymers in the absence presence of copper respectively. Two individual runs are presented in (c). Chapter 4. Molecularly Imprinted Turn-Off-On Sensor. This chapter describes the design and synthesis of molecularly imprinted fluorescent turn-off-on sensor utilizing the same fluorescent cross-linker, BAMA. Combining the process of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) with molecular imprinting technique, a novel turn-off-on sensor was developed. A molecularly imprinted polymer was prepared using a fluorescent template Coumarin-30 (C-30). C-30 was chosen as the template to ensure a significant overlap of the emission spectra of BAMA and the absorption spectra of C-30, thereby optimizing for FRET. Figure 3. Structures of relevant molecules. The C-30 imprinted polymer exhibited simultaneous quenching in fluorescence (turn-off) of BAMA and enhancement in fluorescence (turn-on) of C-30 (Figure 4). The imprinted polymer showed significantly better performance over the non-imprinted polymer (NIP). Figure 4. Fluorescence spectra of the (a) imprinted (MIP) and (b) non-imprinted (NIP) polymers with increasing concentration of the template Coumarine-30 in methanol. The UV-vis studies revealed that the more effective quenching is indeed due to the affinity for C-30 exhibited by the higher binding imprinted polymer. The imprinted polymer also showed significant selectivity over structurally analogous molecules. Therefore, both high sensitivity and selectivity were realized in such novel off-on sensor. Extension of this concept to other biologically relevant fluorescent templates could lead to potentially useful applications. Chapter 5. Design of New Template Binding Cross-linker. In molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP), high cross-linking density (~80 to 90 mole percent) is essential to ensure high selectivity, which limits the functional (binding) monomer to about 10-20 mole percent. Methacrylic acid (MAA) and ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) are the most common combination of functional monomer and cross-linker, respectively, used in molecular imprinting. Generally a molecularly imprinted polymer made with this combination, contains only 10-20% binding sites. This limitation of binding site density is an aspect that has largely been overlooked. In order to improve the efficiency of MIP materials by enhancing the number of binding sites, a new cross-linking monomer (CYDI, 1) with two carboxylic acid groups was designed and synthesized by coupling itaconic anhydride with cyclohexane dimethanol (Figure 5). Figure 5. Structures of relevant molecules. The new functional group bearing cross-linking monomer (1) Itaconate ester of cyclohexanedimethanol (CYDI), the template (2) theophylline (Theop) and the structural analogue of template (3) caffeine (Caff). This new cross-linking monomer was then employed for preparing molecularly imprinted polymer using a drug molecule, theophylline (Theop 2, a bronchodilator) as the template. Seven molecularly imprinted polymers were synthesized with different ratios of CYDI and EGDMA, keeping the cross-linking density constant. The binding efficiency and the selectivity of these imprinted polymers were thoroughly investigated. It was seen that while saturation binding values for theophylline increased continuously with functional cross-linker (CYDI) content, the optimum selectivity with respect to analogous substrate, caffeine, was attained at 40 mol% CYDI. These studies suggest that the approach of using functional group containing cross-linkers could lead to improved MIP performance.
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