Molecular recognition with nanostructures fabricated by photopolymerization within metallic subwavelength apertures†
The first demonstration of fabrication of submicron lateral resolution molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) patterns by photoinduced local polymerization within metal subwavelength apertures is reported. The size of the photopolymerized MIP features is finely tuned by the dose of 532 nm radiation. Rhodamine 123 (R123) has been selected as a fluorescent model template to prove the recognition capability of the MIP nanostructures, which has been evaluated by fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) with single photon timing measurements. The binding selectivity provided by the imprinting effect has been confirmed in the presence of compounds structurally related to R123. These results pave the way to the development of nanomaterial architectures with biomimetic artificial recognition properties for environmental, clinical and food testing.