The present “WATERMIM” proposal is focused on the advancement and optimization of the MIP technology in order to produce functional materials with well-defined morphologies with respect to pore structure and selectivity for water treatment applications. The project aims at the elimination of the random distribution and the uneven accessibility of receptor sites in the volume of the imprinted material that is crucial for its performance. Such novel materials will immediately gain practical relevance, especially, due to their increased selectivity and superior stability under long and harsh technical conditions. The simultaneous optimization of the imprinting efficiency, polymer membrane morphology and separation conditions will enable the development of a truly molecular selective water purification process, based on affinity interactions that would have a large application impact on the water treatment industry. All types of synthetic organic compounds (i.e., triazines, pharmaceutical compounds and endocrine disruptors) are considered target compounds in the WATERMIM project. More specifically, the present project aims at the following S&T objectives: • Selection of template molecules and synthesis of functional monomers. • Optimization of molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) composition by computational design techniques and combinatorial screening. • Synthesis of well-defined MIP nanoparticles and microgels. • Production of novel composite membranes utilizing preformed MIP nanoparticles. • Production of composite filters both on organic and inorganic supports via novel grafting techniques. • Synthesis of molecularly imprinted membranes (MIMs) for molecular sensor applications. • Separation and catalytic decomposition of the pollutants. • Advanced monitoring of the target compounds. • Benchmark testing of the produced MIMs for water purification.
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