Abstract: Results from the "impriting" of various molecules in highly cross-linked synthetic polymers are described. In the procedure followed, polymerization of different acrylic monomers around a "substrate" was carried out. The bulk polymer so formed was then crushed to particles of size 300–500 mm, and the substrate was eluted. A number of dyes, notably rhodanile blue and safranine O, were used in the impriting procedure, and the polymer particles were tested for their recognition properties in column chromatography. It was found that polymers imprinted with rhodanile blue and safranine O showed preferential binding for rhodanile blue and safranine O, respectively. It is believed that the observed selective recognition occurs because cavities are formed that resemble the original substrate in size and have groups at fixed sites within them that allow non-covalent binding with the respective complementary groups of the original substrate.
An alternative procedure for the preparation of substrate-selective polymers was subsequently developed. In this procedure a thin shell of acrylic polymer was formed under similar impriting conditions onto microparticulate porous silica carrying acrylate groups. Analysis of these composite particles under high-performance liquid chromatographic conditions showed similar recognition patterns but could be accomplished more rapidly.