Using computational strategies to study the origin to the molecular memory demonstrated by molecularly imprinted polymers
From Sandra Hedberg on May 23rd, 2018
For most of us, many aspects of everyday life involve a computer. Research in science, engineering and medicine is no exception, where computers are used as control systems and for generating, evaluating and analyzing data. In chemistry, computer simulations of molecular- and atom-level events are now capable of providing unique and valuable insight concerning details of molecular interactions in chemical and biological systems, details that would otherwise be hard or even impossible to describe.
My work has primarily focused on computer simulations of molecular interactions in liquid mixtures, foremost using a method called molecular dynamics simulations. In this talk I will present examples from computational modelling of the critical pre-polymerization phase in molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) systems, the biomimetic characteristics of which makes them suited as alternatives to biological macromolecular recognition systems in a range of application areas. Importantly, these simulations provide detail regarding molecular interactions in the liquid stage preceding the formation of a rigid polymer matrix during production. Trough polymerization in the presence of a molecular template, and its subsequent removal, cavities complementary to the template and related structures are created and can be used to capture the template or template-like structures. Simulations of these systems has been used to optimize material performance as well as choice of production formats in the production of MIPs as both synthetic receptors and catalytically active materials.