Molecular imprinted polymers (MIPs)
     MIP's are tailor-made polymeric column chromatography support media used for the extraction of trace analyte molecules in complex mixtures. MIPs are highly cross-linked polymeric media that have pre-determined shapes and contours offering high selectivity for a single solute molecule or a group of related solutes being targeted for chromatographic isolation. 
molecular imprint polymer

     Selectivity is introduced during MIP manufacture in which a template molecule, designed to mimic the solute, guides the formation of specific cavities or imprints that are both sterically and chemically complementary to the solute(s) of interest. An MIP binding site thus becomes structurally complementary to the solute in question. Multiple non-covalent interaction points (ion-exchange, reversed-phase with polymer backbone, and hydrogen bonding) between the MIP phase and the solute's functional groups allow for stronger solute retention in a chromatographic column. By careful design of the imprinting site, the binding cavities can be engineered to offer multiple interaction points with the solute(s) of interest, leading to a stronger interaction between the polymer sorbent and the solute(s). Because extraction selectivity is significantly improved, lower background is observed allowing significantly lower detection limits.     [back]