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Electrochemical detection of chemical warfare agents



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tert-butyl 1’-methoxycarbonyl-1-ferrocenecarbamate, Boc-NH-Fc-COOMe, (1) was synthesized according to the literature procedure and modified to 1-amino-n′-ferrocenemethylcarboxylate, 1,n′-H₂N-Fc-COOCH₃ (2) by removing the Boc-group with TFA/Et₃N mixture in dichloromethane. Compound 2 reacted with alkylating agents like MeI, EtI, EtSCH₂CH₂Cl (MA) and (CN)(EtO)₂P(O) (NA) to form MeNH-Fc-COOMe (3), EtNH-Fc-COOMe (4), EtSCH₂CH₂NH-Fc-COOMe (5), (EtO)₂P(O)NH-Fc-COOMe (6), respectively. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) of these compounds showed different half-wave potential characteristics compared to aminoferrocene and was dependent on the nature of the substituents, which was rationalized by molecular orbital calculations. Electron donating groups (Me, Et and 2-chloroethyl ethylsulfide, MA) shifted the half-wave potential towards the cathodic direction while electron withdrawing group like diethyl cyanophosphonate, NA, shifted it toward anodic direction. Anodic to cathodic peak separation were found to be within 62-88 mV indicating a quasi-reversible system. Hydrolysis of compound 1 resulted in the formation of tert-butyl 1’-methoxycarbonyl-1-ferrocenecarboxylic acid, Boc-NH-Fc-COOH, (11) which was coupled with cystamine using the EDC/HOBt protocol to synthesize the cystamine conjugate [BocHN-Fc-CO-CSA]₂ (12). This molecule is equipped with an amino group that directly linked to the redox receptor. Compound 12 was fully characterized by spectroscopic methods and by single crystal x-ray diffraction. The cystamine conjugate 12 formed films on gold substrates, which upon deprotection of the amino group, reacted with chemical warfare agents (CWAs) mimics, such as EtSCH₂CH₂Cl (MA), a simulant for the sulfur mustard HD, and (CN)(EtO)₂P(O) (NA), a simulant for the nerve agent Tabun. Their reaction with the surface-bound ferrocene derivative results in the formation of N-substituted products. CV measurements showed anodic shifts of the Fc redox potentials by 50 (±5) mV after exposure to MA, and NA. Measurements by quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) showed an increase in mass upon exposure to MA and NA. Ellipsometry measured a film thickness increase from 6 (±1) Å for the deprotected film to 10 (±4) Å for the film modified with MA and to 7 (±2) Å for the film modified with NA. The surfaces were analyzed by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and clearly showed the attachment of the cystamine conjugate on the surface and its reaction with CWAs mimics.



Chemical warfare agents, Electrochemical detection, Cyclic voltammetry



Master of Science (M.Sc.)







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