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Technology Transfer Office
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Phone: (603) 646-3027
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Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Sensor Systems and Related Methods

Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are polymeric materials containing microscale cavities or imprints of defined shape, which are perfectly matched to a particular molecule or class of molecules. When an MIP is exposed to an environment containing a mixture of compounds, the MIP is able to selectively bind molecules that match the imprint shape with a lock-and-key-type interaction.

Most sensors for detecting and quantifying molecules bound to an MIP utilize optical techniques, such as infrared, ultraviolet or visible spectroscopy; chemiluminescence, fluorescence or phosphorescence; or various forms of atomic microscopy. These techniques require large-scale, expensive and technically-complex instrumentation. Analysis of MIPs, using such instruments, is therefore a time-consuming and costly process that is limited to those locations where the instruments are housed. When speed and portability are important because a molecule of interest may decompose or present a hazard, these optical techniques are too slow and awkward to provide meaningful results.

Dartmouth College currently holds a patent application for an MIP sensor that utilizes changes in electrical resistance to detect and quantify molecules bound to the MIP. The sensors are simple to manufacture, reusable and highly portable. They may be used, for example, in the detection of pollutants; explosives; biowarfare agents; hazardous chemicals, e.g., biocides, insecticides, carcinogens, mutagens; and biological markers, e.g., proteins, cholesterol, blood plasma levels of pharmaceuticals, hormones, steroids, illicit chemical substances and the like.

This technology is claimed in the published PCT Application No. PCT/US2007/071231. Dartmouth is seeking an industrial partner interested in licensing and commercializing this technology. (Ref: J338)

Last Updated: 7/24/12