Abstract: The technique of imprinting molecules of various sizes in a stable structure of polymer matrix has derived multitudes of applications. Once the template molecule is extracted from the polymer matrix, it leaves behind a cavity which is physically (size and shape) and chemically (functional binding site) compatible to the particular template molecule. Positron Annihilation Lifetime Spectroscopy (PALS) is a well known technique to measure cavity sizes precisely in the nanoscale and is not being used in the field of MIPs effectively. This method is capable of measuring nanopores and hence suitable to understand the physical selectivity of the MIPs better. With this idea in mind, we have prepared molecular imprinted polymers (MIPs) with methacrylicacid (MAA) as monomer and EGDMA as cross linker in different molar ratio for three different size template molecules, viz. 4-Chlorophenol (4CP)(2.29 Å), 2-Nephthol (2NP) (3.36 Å) and Phenolphthalein (PP) (4.47Å). FTIR and the dye chemical reactions are used to confirm the complete extraction of the template molecules from the polymer matrix. The free volume size and its distribution have been derived from the measured o-Ps lifetime spectra. Based on the free volume distribution analysis, the percentage of functional cavities for the three template molecules are determined. Percentage of functional binding cavities for 4-CP molecules has been found out to be 70.2% and the rest are native cavities. Similarly for 2NP it is 81.5% and nearly 100% for PP. Therefore, PALS method proves to be very precise and accurate for determining the physical selectivity of MIPs.
Template and target information: 4-Chlorophenol, 4CP, 2-Naphthol, 2NP, Phenolphthalein, PP