Along with biological and nuclear threats, chemical warfare agents are some of the most feared weapons of mass destruction. Compared to nuclear weapons they are relatively easy to access and deploy, which makes them in some aspects a greater threat to national and global security. A particularly hazardous class of chemical warfare agents are the nerve agents. Their rapid and severe effects on human health originate in their ability to block the function of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that is vital to the central nervous system. This article outlines recent activities regarding the development of molecular sensors that can visualize the presence of nerve agents (and related pesticides) through changes of their fluorescence properties. Three different sensing principles are discussed: enzyme-based sensors, chemically reactive sensors, and supramolecular sensors. Typical examples are presented for each class and different fluorescent sensors for the detection of chemical warfare agents are summarized and compared.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- 化学 (全般)