Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) can selectively bind target molecules and can therefore be advantageously used as a low-cost and robust alternative to replace fragile and expensive natural receptors. Yet, one major challenge in using MIPs for sensor development is the lack of simple and cost-effective techniques that allow firm fixation as well as controllable and consistent receptor material distribution on the sensor substrate. In this work, a convenient method is presented wherein microfluidic systems in conjunction with in situ photo-polymerization on functionalized diamond substrates are used. This novel strategy is simple, efficient, low-cost and less time consuming. Moreover, the approach ensures a tunable and consistent MIP material amount and distribution between different sensor substrates and thus a controllable active sensing surface. The obtained patterned MIP structures are successfully tested as a selective sensor platform to detect physiological concentrations of the hormone disruptor testosterone in buffer, urine and saliva using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The highest added testosterone concentration (500 nM) in buffer resulted in an impedance signal of 10.03 ± 0.19% and the lowest concentration (0.5 nM) led to a measurable signal of 1.8 ± 0.15% for the MIPs. With a detection limit of 0.5 nM, the MIP signals exhibited good linearity between a 0.5 nM and 20 nM concentration range. Apart from the excellent and selective recognition offered by these MIP structures, they are also stable during and after the dynamic sensor measurements. Additionally, the MIPs can be easily regenerated by a simple washing procedure and are successfully tested for their reusability.
- Biosensors and Body fluids
- Molecularly imprinted polymers