Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) rapid detection
Research Project, 2022 –

Analysis and detection of CWAs is a well-developed area, however rapid detection using field-ready devices remains a challenge.  Such device are not only for forensic purposes, but also support treatment and/or decontamination efforts. Toward developing a field-ready device, we will use two approaches to this problem, both using cellulose as a carrying material to create solid reagents responsive to CWAs. In all cases standard CWA mimics will be used in our initial research but later real CWAs will be tested at the Swedish Defense Research Agency in Umeå.
2.1. Loading a selection of CWA colorimetric reagents according to Kangas et al.[1] into MOF-808 (see below) attached to cellulose nanofibrils[2]. These can then be combined to a suitable paper-like array for testing. The point here is to both make a suitable solid-state material with the colorimetric reagents well dispersed for maximum effect, but also to protect these reagents against air and moisture inside the MOFs. This will provide a test that is robust and reliable, making it suitable for an array of usage environments.
2.2. The Cu-MOF HKUST-1 has been proven to detect the nerve gas surrogate dimethyl chlorophosphite by a clear color change.[3] However, HKUST-1 is not a particularly stable MOF and not suitable for real world devices. We propose instead to prepare a Cu-based rod-MOF, as rod-MOFs are normally more stable than dot-MOFs such a HKUST-1.7 We will use the rod-MOF strategy we outlined in ref. 7, taking vicinal carboxylates as linkers to induce the infinite 1D metal secondary building units, SBUs of the rod-MOFs. In a first effort we will use anthracene-2,3,6,7-tetracarboxylic acid. This linker is available in two steps from commercial staring materials.[4]

[1] Kangas, M.J., Ernest, A., Lukowicz, R., Mora, A.V., Quossi, A., Perez, M., Kyes, N., and Holmes, A.E. (2018). The Identification of Seven Chemical Warfare Mimics Using a Colorimetric Array. Sensors (Basel) 18, 4291. 10.3390/s18124291.
[2] According to a procedure developed by us: Thunberg, J, Zacharias, S. C., Hasani, M., Oyetunji, O.A., Noa, F.M.A., Westman, G, and Öhrström, L., work to be submitted.
[3] Giannakoudakis, D.A., Hu, Y., Florent, M., and Bandosz, T.J. (2017). Smart textiles of MOF/g-C3N4 nanospheres for the rapid detection/detoxification of chemical warfare agents. Nanoscale Horizons 2, 356-364. 10.1039/C7NH00081B.
[4] Morris, J.L., Becker, C.L., Fronczek, F.R., Daly, W.H., and McLaughlin, M.L. (1994). Synthesis of Extended Linear Aromatics Using Tandem Diels-Alder Aromatization Reactions. J. Org. Chem. 59, 6484-6486. 10.1021/jo00100a065.


Lars Öhrström (contact)

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Francoise Mystere Amombo Noa

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry


American University

Washington, United States

Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)

Stockholm, Sweden


GENIE, Chalmers Gender Initiative for Excellence

Funding Chalmers participation during 2022–

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