Synthesis of Water-Dispersible Molecularly Imprinted Electroactive Nanoparticles for the Sensitive and Selective Paracetamol Detection

A novel kind of water-dispersible molecularly imprinted electroactive nanoparticles was prepared combining macromolecular self-assembly with molecularly imprinting technique employing paracetamol (PCM) as template molecule. An amphiphilic electroactive copolymer (P­(NVC-EHA-AA), PNEA) containing carbazole group was first synthesized through a one-pot free radical copolymerization. The coassembly of the electroactive copolymers with the template molecules (PCM) in aqueous solution generated nanoparticles embedded with PCM, leading to the formation of molecularly imprinted electroactive nanoparticles (MIENPs). A robust MIP film was formed on the surface of electrode by electrodeposition of MIENPs and subsequent electropolymerization of the carbazole units in MIENPs. After the extraction of PCM molecules, a MIP sensor was successfully constructed. It should be noted that electropolymerization of the electroactive units in MIENPs creates cross-conjugated polymer network, which not only locks the recognition sites but also significantly accelerates the electron transfer and thus enhances the response signal of the MIP sensor. These advantages endowed the MIP sensor with good selectivity and high sensitivity for PCM detection. The MIP sensor could recognize PCM from its possible interfering substances with good selectivity. Under the optimal conditions, two linear ranges from 1 μM to 0.1 mM and 0.1 to 10 mM with a detection limit of 0.3 μM were obtained for PCM detection. The MIP sensor also showed good stability and repeatability, which has been successfully used to analyze PCM in tablets and human urine samples with satisfactory results.