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Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry in Analysis of Chemicals Relevant to the Chemical Weapons Convention

Chemical Weapons Chemicals Analysis

  1. Armando Alcaraz

Published Online: 17 DEC 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0405.pub2

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Alcaraz, A. 2012. Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry in Analysis of Chemicals Relevant to the Chemical Weapons Convention . Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry.

Author Information

  1. Forensic Science Center, Livermore, CA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 DEC 2012

Abstract

Mass spectrometry in combination with gas chromatography (GC/MS) is at present the most suitable technique for the analysis of chemicals related to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), as GC/MS is capable of providing the required analytical evidence needed to sustain any claim of noncompliance under the Convention.(1–3) Chemical analysis will be carried out on-site, during an inspection using mobile GC/MS equipment, or off-site, in at least two designated laboratories selected by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). GC/MS analysis under the Convention is focused primarily on qualitative analysis (unambiguous identification) rather than on quantitative analysis. Moreover, GC/MS analysis has to be established under a strict quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program. The two most applied techniques in verification analysis are low-resolution electron ionization (EI) and chemical ionization (CI) GC/MS under full scan conditions. EI is the oldest and still most used ionization technique for the analysis of CWC-related chemicals. Therefore, special attention is paid in this article to the fragmentation under EI conditions of a number of chemicals belonging to the CWC Schedule list. The chemicals placed on this list are the target for verification analysis, especially the Schedule 1 chemicals, which encompass the well-known chemical warfare agents (CWA) such as the nerve agents sarin (GB), soman (GD), tabun (GA), and O-ethyl-S-2-diisopropylaminoethyl methylphosphonothiolate (VX) and the vesicants sulfur mustard (HD) and lewisite (L). Sample preparation methods for these chemicals and their degradation products in environmental, synthetic material, and biological sample matrices are described in this article.