Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) are highly promising materials that have many applications in different fields such as chromatography, catalysis, chemical and biochemical sensing, or even drug delivery. These materials can be tailored to contain intrinsic nano scaled cavities within their structure. These cavities are highly interesting, because they can be made selective for an intended template. Thus, MIP are deeply researched to replace proteins in sensing applications. Proteins are highly delicate and labile to slight changes in the surrounding media, however MIP are polymer based. Therefore, they are easy to handle and mechanically more stable. In addition, they are much cheaper. Still MIP are not fully ready to replace proteins, because their selectivities are usually lower than that of proteins. The current study aims at controlling the physical and chemical properties of the cavities within MIP. Cavities in MIP are the template binding sites, which are the main determinants of the performance of MIP. Two parameters were selected to be studied and to reflect MIP performance; conformational stability and the binding capacity of the cavities. Conformational stability to the best of our Knowledge has never been studied in MIP. This feature was intended to be studied, in order to get information about the ability of different MIP systems to keep the conformational shape and specifity of their nanoscaled cavities. The study began first by a theoretical investigation of a library of monomers using computational modeling, and then was followed by a practical investigation. The theoretical investigation screened a library of monomers, and the best scoring two monomers with regards to conformational stability and binding energy were selected for practical investigation. The practical investigations aimed at validating the correlation between the theoretical performance of the selected candidates, and the practical performance of their MIP in a media containing the selected template, through measuring the MIP's binding capacities. The study could show the significant importance of assessing the conformational stabilities of the MIP building blocks (monomers), and that they directly affected the binding capacities of the studied MIP. Thus it can be suggested that research should not only focus on assessing the binding capacities of MIP, but also special focus should be given to studying the conformational stability of the binding sites.
MS in Nanotechnology
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(2016).Tailored-design of molecularly imprinted polymers with induced cavities of high conformational stability as new platforms for chemical sensing applications [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Selim, Ghada ALTaher. Tailored-design of molecularly imprinted polymers with induced cavities of high conformational stability as new platforms for chemical sensing applications. 2016. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.