Molecularly Imprinted Polymers

Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) are crosslinked polymer networks capable of specifically binding a target molecule. As such, they are also often called “synthetic antibodies”.

The basic synthetic steps consist of the following:

(1)   Polymerization of different monomers and a crosslinker in presence of a template molecule to form polymeric particles around the template

(2)   Removal of the target molecule, which leaves specific binding cavities within the polymer network ready for rebinding the template

Depending on the desired application, MIPs can be designed for sensors, cell targeting or imaging, amongst others. Using controlled radical polymerization techniques such as RAFT polymerization, we aim at precise control of the MIP synthesis. By combining MIP with nanoparticles, we also try to expand the applicability of this fascinating class of polymers.