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Synthesis of a surface molecular imprinting polymer based on silica and its application in the identification of nitrocellulose

Yang, Yan, Meng, Xiangjun, Xiao, Zhenggang
RSC advances 2018 v.8 no.18 pp. 9802-9811
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, adsorption, binding capacity, carboxymethylcellulose, crosslinking, moieties, molecular imprinting, polymerization, polymers, scanning electron microscopy, silica, temperature, thermal stability, thermogravimetry, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy
A surface molecular imprinting polymer (MIP) based on silica (SiO₂/MIP) with excellent selective identification properties towards nitrocellulose (NC) was synthesized with methylacrylic acid as a functional monomer and NC as a template molecule, through simple in situ polymerization. The functional groups of SiO₂/MIP were studied through Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The morphology, crystalline state and thermostability of SiO₂/MIP were investigated respectively by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and thermogravimetric analysis. Binding capacity and selectivity studies of SiO₂/MIP for NC and its analogues were carried out through ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry. The thermal analysis and study of crystalline states confirmed the successful imprinting of NC in the polymer networks. The optimized conditions were found to be a polymerization temperature of 45 °C and a functional monomer to cross-linking ratio of 1 : 3. The adsorption capacity of SiO₂/MIP was improved considerably compared with that of polymers prepared by traditional imprinting technology, with a maximum adsorption amount of 1.7 mg mg⁻¹ in 2 mg ml⁻¹ NC solution, compared with an adsorption capacity of about 0.5 mg mg⁻¹ for a traditional MIP. According to the selectivity study, more NC was adsorbed by SiO₂/MIP than its analogues; the best adsorption capacity of SiO₂/MIP for NC was approaching 5 times that for carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC). The results show that it would be possible to apply SiO₂/MIP for the detection of NC, to give improved sensitivity in security checking and improved contaminant adsorption.