Scientists work toward film detector for CWAs

The American Chemical Society (ACS) reported Wednesday that researchers are making progress toward the development of detection films to warn against chemical warfare agents (CWA.)

Timothy Swager and Jonathan Weis, the authors of the study "Thiophene-Fused Tropones as Chemical Warfare Agent-Responsive Building Blocks" that was published in ACS Macro Letters, state that most of the tests now available for CWAs are liquid solutions that are impractical in the field. 

With that in mind, they developed a potential thin-film detection strip that reacts via color change when put into contact with a substance that mimics the chemical make-up of a nerve agent. With these results, both researchers concluded that it would be possible to develop a distinct group of test film comprised of similar materials that could be used in testing to identify a number of chemical threats.

Chemical threats come in different forms, with notable examples including nerve agents like sarin, blister agents such as mustard gas, blood agents like hydrogen cyanide, and choking agents including chlorine and phosgene.

Funding for this research was provided by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.