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Fluorescent Chemosensor for Dual-Channel Discrimination between Phosgene and Triphosgene

Wang, Shao-Lin, Li, Chen, Song, Qin-Hua
Analytical chemistry 2019 v.91 no.9 pp. 5690-5697
Lewis acids, detection limit, fluorescence, fluorescent dyes, gases, nanofibers, paper, public safety, toxicity
As highly toxic and accessible chemical reagents, phosgene and triphosgene have become a serious threat to public safety. So, it is highly desirable to develop facile methods to detect and recognize them. In this article, a novel fluorescent chemosensor, Phos-4, has been constructed with 1,8-naphthalimide as the fluorophore and 2-(2-aminophenyl)imidazol as the recognition sites for discrimination between phosgene and triphosgene in a dual-channel mode for the first time. Owing to the difference in electrophilicity between chlorocarbonyl and trichloromethoxycarbonyl, the sensing reaction of Phos-4 with phosgene undergoes two carbamylations to afford a cyclic product with green fluorescence, and only one carbamylation occurs for triphosgene to form a noncyclic product with blue fluorescence. The sensor Phos-4 exhibits high sensitivity (the limit of detection, 3.2 nM, for phosgene, and 1.9 nM, for triphosgene) and high selectivity in solutions. Furthermore, facile test papers containing Phos-4-embedded nanofibrous membrane have been fabricated by the electrospinning technology. The test papers can provide visual and selective detection of phosgene with a lower limit of detection (42 ppb) and a faster response (≤10 s) in the gas phase over those in solutions. The test paper with Phos-4 is promising to be a practical detection tool of gaseous phosgene.