A molecular recognition platform for the simultaneous sensing of diverse chemical weapons

Lintao Zeng, Tianhong Chen, Beitong Zhu, Seyoung Koo, Yonghe Tang, Weiying Lin, Tony D. James, Jong Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (SciVal)


Chemical warfare agents (CWAs) such as phosgene and nerve agents pose serious threats to our lives and public security, but no tools can simultaneously screen multiple CWAs in seconds. Here, we rationally designed a robust sensing platform based on 8-cyclohexanyldiamino-BODIPY (BODIPY-DCH) to monitor diverse CWAs in different emission channels. Trans-cyclohexanyldiamine as the reactive site provides optimal geometry and high reactivity, allowing trans-BODIPY-DCH to detect CWAs with a quick response and high sensitivity, while cis-BODIPY-DCH has much weaker reactivity to CWAs due to intramolecular H-bonding. Upon reaction with phosgene, trans-BODIPY-DCH was rapidly converted to imidazolone BODIPY (<3 s), triggering green fluorescence with good sensitivity (LOD = 0.52 nM). trans-BODIPY-DCH coupled with nerve agent mimics, affording a blue fluorescent 8-amino-BODIPY tautomer. Furthermore, a portable test kit using trans-BODIPY-DCH displayed an instant response and low detection limits for multiple CWAs. This platform enables rapid and highly sensitive visual screening of various CWAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4523-4532
JournalChemical Science
Issue number16
Early online date23 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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