Surface-imprinted polymers based on 3D printing resin for selective bacteria detection

Tamara M. Iakimova, Benjamin Heidt, Amy Q. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surface-imprinted polymers (SIPs) are biomimetic receptors that emulate the molecular recognition capabilities of antibodies but offer enhanced stability. Traditional contact imprinting for SIP fabrication is labor intensive and can produce inconsistent results due to the manual polymer synthesis. Laying the groundwork for future SIP imprinting with three-dimensional (3D) printers, our study pioneers the use of the Formlabs clear 3D printing resin for creating SIPs geared toward bacterial detection, thus eliminating the manual synthesis step. We produce SIPs using E. coli as a benchmark template bacterium, analyze their structure, and assess their rebinding capacity through fluorescence microscopy. To test cross-selectivity, SIPs for five other bacterial strains are produced and subsequently exposed to each, underscoring the SIPs’ specific affinity for their original bacterial mold. Given its 3D printing suitability and the material's commercial availability, we envision the use of bacteria-binding imprints on intricate surfaces, bolstering biosensing applications in biotechnology, industry, and environmental monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101853
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • 3D printing
  • additive manufacturing
  • biosensors
  • Escherichia coli
  • molecularly imprinted polymers
  • Ready2use materials
  • surface-imprinted polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Energy(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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