Dr. Kapil D. Patel published review paper titled “Molecularly Imprinted Polymers and Electrospinning: Manufacturing Convergence for Next‐Level Applications” in Advanced Functional materials (2020) in collaboration with Eastman Dental Institute, University College London, UK
Micro- and especially nanofiber-type materials are extremely attractive for a number of applications, ranging from separation and analysis to drug delivery, wound healing and tissue engineering, and the majority of them are currently produced worldwide via the extremely popular and effective electrospinning technique.
The addition of specific tailored molecular recognition capability to these electrospun materials via the established molecular imprinting technology can be extremely beneficial for a number of applications, as indicated by the number of examples in the literature over the past 15 years. However, the integration of these two technologies has proven to be quite challenging, mainly due to the different processing methodologies which characterize the two approaches. In this progress report, the practical difficulties related to the combination of electrospinning and molecular imprinting (MIPs) and to the production of molecularly-imprinted electrospun fibers are addressed. We discuss the main aspects to take into consideration when designing and optimizing the experimental protocols, as well as highlight the most prolific research applications that have been explored thus far. We conclude with a commercial/industrial and economic perspective on the envisaged market for these hybrid products. Currently, we are working to explore the combination of the two technologies for biomedical/tissue engineering applications.