Molecular imprinting technique has been used to create sensors with a predetermined selectivity for molecules in the gas phase. Piezoelectric quartz crystals coated with a 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) imprinted polymer gave responses which were consistently 5–10 Hz (1.1–1.3 times) higher than those of sensors coated with a non-imprinted polymer. Geosmin, another tertiary alcohol odorant with an earthy odor resembling, and often accompanying MIB, produced almost equal responses on either imprinted- or non-imprinted sensors. A number of other odorants were examined and their responses to the non-imprinted sensors were found to be similar to or greater than their responses to the imprinted sensors. The responses of MIB to the imprinted sensors were always the highest, while other odorants produced equal or higher responses using the non-imprinted sensor. The sensor has a detection limit of ca. 5 mg l−1 and a dynamic range of at least 1000 mg l−l. When the time taken for the sensor to stabilize is used as the response, instead of the frequency change, the detection limit is lowered to ca. 200 μg l−l.
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