Characterization of QCM sensor surfaces coated with molecularly imprinted nanoparticles


Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are gaining great interest as tailor-made recognition materials for the development of biomimetic sensors. Various approaches have been adopted to interface MIPs with different transducers, including the use of pre-made imprinted particles and the in situ preparation of thin polymer layers directly on transducer surfaces. In this work we functionalized quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensor crystals by coating the sensing surfaces with pre-made molecularly imprinted nanoparticles. The nanoparticles were immobilized on the QCM transducers by physical entrapment in a thin poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) layer that was spin-coated on the transducer surface. By controlling the deposition conditions, it was possible to gain a high nanoparticle loading in a stable PET layer, allowing the recognition sites in nanoparticles to be easily accessed by the test analytes. In this work, different sensor surfaces were studied by micro-profilometry and atomic force microscopy and the functionality was evaluated using quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D). The molecular recognition capability of the sensors were also confirmed using radioligand binding analysis by testing their response to the presence of the test compounds, (R)- and (S)-propranolol in aqueous buffer.

Document Type





Molecularly imprinted polymers, Nanoparticles, Quartz crystal microbalance, Sensors

Publication Date


Journal Title

Biosensors and Bioelectronics