Semiconductor nanocrystal-polymer hybrid nanomaterials and their application in molecular imprinting.


Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Chemistry, Noakowskiego 3, 00-664 Warsaw, Poland. [Email]


Quantum dots (QDs) are attractive semiconductor fluorescent nanomaterials with remarkable optical and electrical properties. The broad absorption spectra and high stability of QD transducers are advantageous for sensing and bioimaging. Molecular imprinting is a technique for manufacturing synthetic polymeric materials with a high recognition ability towards a target analyte. The high selectivity of the molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) is a result of the fabrication process based on the template-tailored polymerization of functional monomers. The three-dimensional cavities formed in the polymer network can serve as the recognition elements of sensors because of their specificity and stability. Appending specific molecularly imprinted layers to QDs is a promising strategy to enhance the stability, sensitivity, and selective fluorescence response of the resulting sensors. By merging the benefits of MIPs and QDs, inventive optical sensors are constructed. In this review, the recent synthetic strategies used for the fabrication of QD nanocrystals emphasizing various approaches to effective functionalization in aqueous environments are discussed followed by a detailed presentation of current advances in QD conjugated MIPs (MIP-QDs). Frontiers in manufacturing of specific imprinted layers of these nanomaterials are presented and factors affecting the specific behaviour of an MIP shell are identified. Finally, current limitations of MIP-QDs are defined and prospects are outlined to amplify the capability of MIP-QDs in future sensing.