Abstract: Aiming at enhancing the advantages of traditional molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for chemical sensing, a new MIP design approach introducing an internal heavy atom in their polymeric structure is described. Based on the heavy-atom effect, the novel polymer allows one to perform room-temperature phosphorescence (RTP) transduction of the analyte. The synergic combination of a tailor-made MIP recognition with a selective RTP detection is a novel concept for optosensing devices which is assessed here for simple and highly selective determination of trace amounts of fluoranthene in water. The noncovalent MIP was synthesized using the laboratory-synthesized tetraiodobisphenol A as one of the polymeric precursors and fluoranthene as template. In the presence of an oxygen scavenger, the iodide included in the polymeric structure induced efficient RTP emission from the analyte, once recognized by the MIP. The developed optosensing system has demonstrated a high specificity for fluoranthene against other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Detection limit for the target molecule was 35 ng/L (5-mL sample injections), and the linear range extended above 100 μg/L of the analyte. The polymer can be easily regenerated for subsequent sample injections (at least up to 450 cycles) with acetonitrile. The synthesized sensing material showed good stability for at least 6 months after preparation. The feasibility of monitoring fluoranthene in real samples was successfully evaluated through the analysis of five spiked river water samples.
Template and target information: fluoranthrene