Systematic study of steric and spatial contributions to molecular recognition by non-covalent imprinted polymers

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Although molecular imprinting is a widely accepted method for producing template specific polymers, the general rules for prediction and control of the binding and catalytic properties of these materials are still not fully understood. One reason for this is the problematic structural analysis of the active sites in the polymers, which are not amenable to X-ray crystallography or microscopic techniques due to their amorphous and heterogeneous nature. Therefore, molecular probes have been the most informative agents for the analysis of the structure of active sites. This paper focuses on the steric and geometrical aspects of shape recognition in non-covalent imprinted polymers, with particular effort to minimize other factors contributing to molecular recognition by the polymers. Chiral amine compounds with systematic changes in spatial, distal and conformational components of sterically controlled molecular recognition were investigated for use as non-covalent imprinted polymers. Chromatographic studies revealed that steric and spatial interactions influence the selectivity properties of imprinted polymers in a predictable fashion.

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