Caffeine templated molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) have been prepared using identical polymer formulations by thermal and microwave induced initiation, and the binding performance of the systems compared using solid phase extraction (SPE). While the binding capacity of MIP(Microwave) was found to be lower than MIP(Thermal), MIP(Microwave) recorded a higher imprinting factor (IF) due to comparatively low levels of non-specific binding. Selectivity against theophylline in cross-reactivity studies was also found to be greater for MIP(Microwave). While large time savings are achievable through the use of microwave irradiation conditions, physical analysis of the polymers (surface area analysis, thermal gravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry) reveals that the different polymerisation methods lead to differences in both polymer structure and performance.
New Journal of Chemistry Vol. 34, Issue 4, p. 686-692