Publications by authors named "Geoffrey T Hughes"

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Improving Quantification of tabun, sarin, soman, cyclosarin, and sulfur mustard by focusing agents: A field portable gas chromatography-mass spectrometry study.

J Chromatogr A 2021 Jan 13;1636:461784. Epub 2020 Dec 13.

Hazardous Materials Research Center (HMRC), Battelle Columbus Laboratories, Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, OH, USA.

Commercial gas chromatograph-mass spectrometers, one of which being Inficon's HAPSITE® ER, have demonstrated chemical detection and identification of nerve agents (G-series) and blistering agents (mustard gas) in the field; however most analyses relies on self-contained or external calibration that inherently drifts over time. We describe an analytical approach that uses target-based thermal desorption standards, called focusing agents, to accurately calculate concentrations of chemical warfare agents that are analyzed by gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry. Here, we provide relative response factors of focusing agents (2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide, diisopropyl fluorophosphate, diethyl methylphosphonate, diethyl malonate, methyl salicylate, and dichlorvos) that are used to quantify concentrations of tabun, sarin, soman, cyclosarin and sulfur mustard loaded on thermal desorption tubes (Tenax® TA). Aging effects of focusing agents are evaluated by monitoring deviations in quantification as thermal desorption tubes age in storage at room temperature and relative humidity. The addition of focusing agents improves the quantification of tabun, sarin, soman, cyclosarin and sulfur mustard that is analyzed within the same day as well as a 14-day period. Among the six focusing agents studied here, diisopropyl fluorophosphate has the best performance for nerve agents (G-series) and blistering agents (mustard gas) compared to other focusing agents in this work and is recommended for field use for quantification. The use of focusing agent in the field leads to more accurate and reliable quantification of Tabun (GA), Sarin (GB), Soman (GD), Cyclosarin (GF) and Sulfur Mustard (HD) than the traditional internal standard. Future improvements on the detection of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive materials (CBRNE) can be safely demonstrated with standards calibrated for harmful agents.
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January 2021