In order to replace bio-macromolecules by stable synthetic materials in separation techniques and bioanalysis biomimetic receptors and catalysts have been developed: Functional monomers are polymerized together with the target analyte and after template removal cavities are formed in the ”molecularly imprinted polymer” (MIP) which resemble the active sites of antibodies and enzymes. Starting almost 80 years ago, around 1,100 papers on MIPs were published in 2016. Electropolymerization allows to deposit MIPs directly on voltammetric electrodes or chips for quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) and surface plasmon resonance (SPR). For the readout of MIPs for drugs amperometry, differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) and impedance spectroscopy (EIS) offer higher sensitivity as compared with QCM or SPR. Application of simple electrochemical devices allows both the reproducible preparation of MIP sensors, but also the sensitive signal generation. Electrochemical MIP-sensors for the whole arsenal of drugs, e.g. the most frequently used analgesics, antibiotics and anticancer drugs have been presented in literature and tested under laboratory conditions. These biomimetic sensors typically have measuring ranges covering the lower nano- up to millimolar concentration range and they are stable under extreme pH and in organic solvents like nonaqueous extracts.
Keywords: Biomimetic sensors, molecularly imprinted polymers, drug sensors, drug imprinting, electropolymerization, electrochemical sensors.