Visual detection of a nerve agent simulant using chemically modified paper strips and dye-assembled inorganic nanocomposite†
Chromogenic probe with oxidized bis-indolyl scaffold has been synthesized for the detection of a nerve gas mimicking agent, DCNP (diethyl cyanophosphonate) at pH 8.0 in water. The mechanism of interaction was proposed as the release of cyanide ion through the indole group mediating the hydrolysis of phosphorous-hetero atom bond and, thereafter, the Michael addition of the liberated CN− ion to the electron deficient CC bond of the bis-indolyl moiety. The reaction featured a remarkable change in color from red to colorless at ambient condition. Then, low-cost and portable paper strips were designed for a rapid and on-site vapor phase detection of DCNP without involving any sophisticated instrument or skilled personnel. Finally, a dye assembled inorganic nanocomposite material was devised to achieve a more sensitive ‘turn-on’ detection of DCNP in water.