5 years ago

Spectroscopic and Computational Investigation of Room-Temperature Decomposition of a Chemical Warfare Agent Simulant on Polycrystalline Cupric Oxide

Spectroscopic and Computational Investigation of Room-Temperature Decomposition of a Chemical Warfare Agent Simulant on Polycrystalline Cupric Oxide
Jeffrey Owrutsky, Jeffrey Long, Scott Holdren, Hendrik Bluhm, Yi Yu, Michael Zachariah, Lena Trotochaud, Bryan Eichhorn, Osman Karslıoğlu, Ashley R. Head, Maija M. Kuklja, Kenan Fears, Roman Tsyshevsky, Sven Pletincx
Certain organophosphorus molecules are infamous due to their use as highly toxic nerve agents. The filtration materials currently in common use for protection against chemical warfare agents were designed before organophosphorus compounds were used as chemical weapons. A better understanding of the surface chemistry between simulant molecules and the individual filtration-material components is a critical precursor to the development of more effective materials for filtration, destruction, decontamination, and/or sensing of nerve agents. Here, we report on the surface adsorption and reactions of a sarin simulant molecule, dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP), with cupric oxide surfaces. In situ ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron and infrared spectroscopies are coupled with density functional calculations to propose mechanisms for DMMP decomposition on CuO. We find extensive room temperature decomposition of DMMP on CuO, with the majority of decomposition fragments bound to the CuO surface. We observe breaking of PO–CH3, P–OCH3, and P–CH3 bonds at room temperature. On the basis of these results, we identify specific DMMP decomposition mechanisms not seen on other metal oxides. Participation of lattice oxygen in the decomposition mechanism leads to significant changes in chemical and electronic surface environment, which are manifest in the spectroscopic and computational data. This study establishes a computational baseline for the study of highly toxic organophosphorous compounds on metal oxide surfaces.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b02489

DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b02489

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