Sensitive portable probe developed to detect hazardous phosgene gas
September 26,2017 17:59:04 readCount:429

Scientists of SCUT have developed a rapid and sensitive way of detecting the presence of gaseous phosgene, a highly dangerous toxic chemical compound that is used in chemical plants to synthesise products.
Phosgene is known for causing severe casualties when it was used in chemical warfare during World War I and the Japanese invasion to China in the 1930s and 1940s. When it serves industrial purposes, chemical plants are still at a risk of accidental leaking. Test strips with aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ) fluorophores were developed to aid portable detection of phosgene, but the performance is limited in sensitivity.
Now a research team, led by Professor Wu Shuizhu at SCUT’s State Key Laboratory of Luminescent Materials and Devices, has improved the sensitivity of test strips by using a different fluorophore based on the aggregation-induced emission (AIE) effect, a scientific finding made by Professor Tang Benzhong, who is also a distinguished faculty member of SCUT.
According to the researchers, the test strip changes from blue to green upon exposure to phosgene, and have a detection limit of 1.87 ppm, which is lower than the “harmless” level of human response to acute phosgene exposure.
“In a facility where there is the possibility of phosgene presence, the operator can place a test strip in the air for 2 minutes, and check whether it changes from blue to green with a hand-held UV light,” explains Wu. “This way he or she can determine whether there is a phosgene leak in there. By storing the test strips in a small container, you can actually carry it with you everywhere.”
Read the full story by Sarah Piggott on Chemistry World, or the original research via the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Sources from Chemistry World and the Royal Society of Chemistry
Compiled by Xu Peimu
Edited by Xu Peimu and Cheng Yu