Abstract: A series of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) containing equal amounts of iron(III) were prepared by the polymerization of acrylamide and ethylene dimethacrylate in the presence of the template of o-, m-, or p-nitrobenzyl alcohol (NBA) and a FeCl3 complex. The samples were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, N2 adsorption, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The catalysts exhibited high catalytic activity and unique substrate recognition in the oxidation of benzyl alcohol derivatives in water using 30% H2O2 as the oxidant. The conversion of p-NBA was 80% over the p-Fe(III)-MIP catalyst when the template molecule was p-NBA, which had a good fit with the substrate. However, the conversion of p-NBA was less than 58% over o-Fe(III)-MIP or m-Fe(III)-MIP due to the mismatch of the substrate with the cavities of the Fe(III)-MIP. The results indicated that the Fe(III)-MIP samples contained molecular recognizable shapes and sites in their cavities that match the corresponding substrate. The special recognizing cavities of the Fe(III)-MIP catalyst exhibited unique substrate recognition, and therefore the selectivity for the substrate was improved.
Template and target information: o-nitrobenzyl alcohol, m-nitrobenzyl alcohol, p-nitrobenzyl alcohol, NBA