In this work, the anodic current at an electrode grafted with a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) crosslinked via a combination of hydrophobic ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate (EDMA) and hydrophilic methylene bisacrylamide (MBAA) was found to exhibit enantioselective sensitivity to the phenylalanine template in aqueous solution. An MIP-grafted electrode crosslinked with a 2:1 mixture of EDMA and MBAA was observed to respond to the template with the highest enantioselectivity, such that the change in current induced by the imprinted template was more than four times that induced by the enantiomer of the template. The contact angle of a water droplet on an MIP-coated electrode prepared using the optimal crosslinker blending ratio was also sensitive to the template and again exhibited chiral selectivity. The change in the contact angle induced by the template was more than twice as large as that obtained from the template's enantiomer. Atomic force microscopy showed that the surface of the MIP layer fabricated using a mixture of crosslinkers was rougher than that made with a single crosslinking agent, although there was no apparent correlation between the roughness and the enantioselectivity of the layer. These results indicate that the appropriate combination of crosslinkers enables the chiral-selective gate effect by modulating the flexibility and hydrophilicity of the MIP layer. The approach described herein therefore represents a new means of improving the selectivity of MIPs by blending crosslinkers having different chemical properties.
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