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Proceedings Paper

Reactive chromophores for sensitive and selective detection of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals
Author(s): Greg Frye-Mason; Martin Leuschen; Lara Wald; Kateri Paul; Lawrence F. Hancock
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Paper Abstract

A reactive chromophore developed at MIT exhibits sensitive and selective detection of surrogates for G-class nerve agents. This reporter acts by reacting with the agent to form an intermediate that goes through an internal cyclization reaction. The reaction locks the molecule into a form that provides a strong fluorescent signal. Using a fluorescent sensor platform, Nomadics has demonstrated rapid and sensitive detection of reactive simulants such as diethyl chloro-phosphate (simulant for sarin, soman, and related agents) and diethyl cyanophosphate (simulant for tabun). Since the unreacted chromophore does not fluoresce at the excitation wavelength used for the cyclized reporter, the onset of fluo-rescence can be easily detected. This fluorescence-based detection method provides very high sensitivity and could enable rapid detection at permissible exposure levels. Tests with potential interferents show that the reporter is very selective, with responses from only a few highly toxic, electrophilic chemicals such as phosgene, thionyl chloride, and strong acids such as HF, HCl, and nitric acid. Dimethyl methyl phosphonate (DMMP), a common and inactive simu-lant for other CW detectors, is not reactive enough to generate a signal. The unique selectivity to chemical reactivity means that a highly toxic and hazardous chemical is present when the reporter responds and illustrates that this sensor can provide very low false alarm rates. Current efforts focus on demonstrating the sensitivity and range of agents and toxic industrial chemicals detected with this reporter as well as developing additional fluorescent reporters for a range of chemical reactivity classes. The goal is to produce a hand-held sensor that can sensitively detect a broad range of chemical warfare agent and toxic industrial chemical threats.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 May 2005
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5778, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IV, (20 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.604134
Show Author Affiliations
Greg Frye-Mason, Nomadics, Inc. (United States)
Martin Leuschen, Nomadics, Inc. (United States)
Lara Wald, Nomadics, Inc. (United States)
Kateri Paul, Nomadics, Inc. (United States)
Lawrence F. Hancock, Nomadics, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5778:
Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IV
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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