Fundamental Studies on Molecularly Imprinted Materials
Abstract: The thesis focuses on fundamental studies aimed at elucidating factors that influence molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) formation and ligand recognition. To this end, a series of computational techniques, in particular chemometrics and molecular dynamics (MD) in conjunction with polymer synthesis and physical characterization studies have been employed. In Paper I, the multivariate analysis method principal component analysis (PCA) was used to investigate the role of incubation media on polymer-ligand recognition, and results highlighted the importance of several solvent parameters on recognition. In Paper II, all-component MD simulations were used to examine the role of polymerization mixture stoichiometry on MIP-template recognition. Correlations between nature and extent of template complexation and recognition were observed. The influence of the acidic functionality of the methacrylic acid used in these polymers on polymer-template recognition and morphology was examined in Paper III. PCA was then used in Paper IV to identify relationships between interactions in the pre-polymerization mixture, polymer functionality, recognition and morphology using the polymers described in Paper II and III.
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