Chemosensory performance of molecularly imprinted fluorescent conjugated polymer materials

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Fluorescent conjugated polymers are an attractive basis for the design of low detection limit sensing devices owing to their intrinsic signal amplification capability. A simple and universal method to rationally control or fine-tune the chemodetection selectivity of conjugated polymer materials toward a desired analytical target would further benefit their applications. In a quest of such a method we investigated a general approach to cross-linked molecularly imprinted fluorescent conjugated polymer (MICP) materials that possess an intrinsic capability for signal transduction and have potential to enhance selectivity and sensitivity of sensor devices based on conjugated polymers. To study these capabilities, we prepared an MICP material for the detection of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene and related nitroaromatic compounds. We found the imprinting effect in this material to be based on analyte shape/size recognition being substantial and generally overcoming other competing thermodynamically determined trends. The described molecularly imprinted fluorescent conjugated polymers show remarkable air stability and photostability, high fluorescence quantum yield, and reversible analyte binding and therefore are advantageous for sensing applications due to the ability to "preprogram" their detection selectivity through a choice of an imprinted template.

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Journal of the American Chemical Society

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