Sensitive Detector for Nerve Agents

Sensitive Detector for Nerve Agents

Author: David Bradley

The threat of chemical weapons use and the growing number of nerve agents available to those who might deploy them require chemists to find new ways to detect these diverse and lethal compounds. A team at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, India, has observed unique emission from a norbornene-derived terpyridine (NDT) lanthanide complex, which they say can reveal exposure dose to compounds such as G-type nerve agents.

The NDT compound is sensitive to a mere 40 parts per billion and selective for nerve agents, or more specifically surrogates for these compounds in the team’s tests. The europium(III) ion at the heart of the systems produces a magenta emission that changes to blue on complexation.

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