Measurements of chemical warfare agent degradation products using an electrophoresis microchip with contactless conductivity
This paper reports on a microfluidic device for the screening of organophosphonate nerve agent degradation products. The miniaturized system relies on an efficient chip-based separation of alkyl methylphosphonic acids (breakdown products of Satin, Soman, and VX nerve agents) followed by their sensitive contactless conductivity detection. Experimental parameters relevant to the separation and detection processes have been optimized to yield high sensitivity (with 48-86 mug L-1 detection limits), fast response (50 s for a three alkyl methylphosphonic acid mixture), high precision (RSD = 3.8-5.0%), and good linearity (over the 0.3-100 ring L-1 range). Applicability to natural (river) water samples is demonstrated. The new microsystem offers promise for monitoring degradation products of chemical warfare agents, with advantages of speed/warning, efficiency, portability, sample size, and cost compared to conventional ion chromatography or capillary electrophoresis systems.