Abstract: A computationally designed molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) specific for methamphetamine was used as a synthetic receptor for the development of a piezoelectric sensor. Several different protocols were tested for the immobilisation of the MIP onto the gold sensor surface. The developed MIP sensor had a detection limit for methamphetamine as low as 1 μg mL-1. The effect of the addition of poly(vinyl acetate) (PVA) on the pre-polymerisation mixtures, which increases the porosity of the polymer layer, was also studied using an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). PVA seemed to affect both the porosity and the binding kinetics of the polymers prepared in dimethylformamide (DMF). However, no clear effect on porosity and binding kinetics was observed when polymers were prepared in diglyme. Moreover, PVA did not appear to improve the amplitude of the sensor response. In conclusion, because of its excellent recognition ability in aqueous solutions, the sensor described in this work could be an ideal starting point for the development of a commercial device for fast, on-site or road-side testing of drugs of abuse in body fluids such as saliva.
Template and target information: methamphetamine