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Detection and Screening of Chemicals Related to the Chemical Weapons Convention

Chemical Weapons Chemicals Analysis

  1. George M. Murray

Published Online: 16 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0403.pub2

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Murray, G. M. 2013. Detection and Screening of Chemicals Related to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University of Tennessee Space Institute, Tullahoma, TN, USA

  1. Update based on the original article by Maarten S. Nieuwenhuizen, Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry, © 2000, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 SEP 2013


Spurred by recent events, there is an ever-growing interest in the detection of hazardous chemicals in both military and civilian contexts. The threat of chemical weapons has spread from the battlefield to cities and towns due to the threat of international terrorism. Detection of hazardous chemicals and now chemical weapons is a requirement for first responders of all sorts. While a plethora of devices and materials exist, they all have certain inherent weaknesses and no one device can be relied upon to give an unambiguous response. As usual in chemical detection, two orthogonal methods give a much higher confidence than does any single method.

This article identifies hazardous chemicals identified by the Chemical Weapons Convention and provides a description of materials and devices for sensing and responding to chemical agent contamination and releases. It comparatively evaluates current and near-term sensor options for detecting the most likely current threats. It also identifies sensor technologies that may be capable of responding to a wider range of substances (e.g., hazardous industrial chemicals and new chemical warfare agents) to provide options for coping with new threats as they develop. Previous research results on the principal background contaminants that have the potential of introducing unwanted false alarms in chemical agent detection systems are collated, and techniques that may be capable of reducing the impact of toxic material releases are suggested.