Part of the book: Environmental Biosensors
The development of electrochemical sensors has attracted great interest due to these sensors’ high sensitivity and selectivity. Here, we present the general concept and the classification of biosensors, their advantages and drawbacks, the main strategies in electrochemical biosensor technology and the materials used in electrochemical sensors, such as electrodes and supporting substrates, materials for improved sensitivity and selectivity, materials for bioreceptor immobilization, and biological recognition elements. Various nanomaterials, such as carbon-based materials (carbon nanotubes, graphene, carbon nanoparticles), inorganic and organic nanoparticles (magnetic and metal nanoparticles, nanosized clays), conductive and insulating polymers (nanosized and nanostructured polymers, molecularly imprinted polymers), and hybrid materials, etc., have been successfully applied for the enhancement of the electroanalytical performance of biosensors and for the immobilization of biorecognition elements. Among these, due to their unique physiochemical features, carbon-based materials, such as carbon nanotubes and graphenes, have received special attention in recent years, and examples of surface functionalization using various types of nanoparticles are presented. The future trends in sensor research activities and areas of development that are expected to have an impact in biosensor performance, like immobilization techniques, nanotechnology, miniaturization and multisensor array determinations, are also examined.
Part of the book: Biosensors
Molecular imprinting enables the design of highly crosslinked polymeric materials that are able to mimic natural recognition processes. Molecularly imprinted polymers exhibit binding sites with tailored selectivity toward target structures ranging from inorganic ions to biomacromolecules and even viruses or living cells. The choice of the appropriate functional monomer, crosslinker, and the nature and specificity of template–monomer interactions are critical for a successful imprinting process. The use of a metal ion mediating the interaction between the monomer and template (acting as ligands) has proven to offer a higher fidelity of imprint, which modulates the molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) selectivity or to endow additional features to the polymer, such as stimuli-responsiveness, catalytic activity, etc. Furthermore, limitations in using nonpolar and aprotic solvents are overcome, allowing the use of more polar solvents and even aqueous solutions as imprinting media, opening new prospects toward the imprinting of biomacromolecules (proteins, DNA, RNA, antibodies, biological receptors, etc.). This chapter aims to outline the beneficial pairing of metal ions as coordination centers and various functional ligands in the molecular imprinting process, as well as to provide an up to date overview of the various applications in chemical sensing, separation processes (stationary phases and selective sorbents), drug delivery, and catalysis.
Part of the book: Ligand