We report on the development of new optical sensors using molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) combined with different materials and explore the novel strategies followed in order to overcome some of the limitations found during the last decade in terms of performance. This review pretends to offer a general overview, mainly focused on the last 3 years, on how the new fabrication procedures enable the synthesis of hybrid materials enhancing not only the recognition ability of the polymer but the optical signal. Introduction describes MIPs as biomimetic recognition elements, their properties and applications, emphasizing on each step of the fabrication/recognition procedure. The state of the art is presented and the change in the publication trend between electrochemical and optical sensor devices is thoroughly discussed according to the new fabrication and micro/nano-structuring techniques paving the way for a new generation of MIP-based optical sensors. We want to offer the reader a different perspective based on the materials science in contrast to other overviews. Different substrates for anchoring MIPs are considered and distributed in different sections according to the dimensionality and the nature of the composite, highlighting the synergetic effect obtained as a result of merging both materials to achieve the final goal.
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