Chemical Warfare Agent Surface Adsorption: Hydrogen Bonding of Sarin and Soman to Amorphous Silica
ARMY EDGEWOOD CHEMICAL BIOLOGICAL CENTER APG MD RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY DIR
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Sarin and soman are warfare nerve agents that represent some of the most toxic compounds ever synthesized. The extreme risk in handling such molecules has, until now, precluded detailed research into the surface chemistry of agents. We have developed a surface science approach to explore the fundamental nature of hydrogen bonding forces between these agents and a hydroxylated surface. Infrared spectroscopy revealed that both agents adsorb to amorphous silica through the formation of surprisingly strong hydrogen-bonding interactions with primarily isolated silanol groups SiOH. Comparisons with previous theoretical results reveal that this bonding occurs almost exclusively through the phosphoryl oxygen P0 of the agent. Temperature-programmed desorption experiments determined that the activation energy for hydrogen bond rupture and desorption of sarin and soman was 50 - 2 and 52 - 2 kJmol, respectively. Together with results from previous studies involving other phosphoryl-containing molecules, we have constructed a detailed understanding of the structure-function relationship for nerve agent hydrogen bonding at the gas-surface interface.
- Physical Chemistry
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare