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Exploration of Unimolecular Gas-Phase Detoxication Pathways of Sarin and Soman: A Computational Study from the Perspective of Reaction Energetics and Kinetics

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journal contribution
posted on 10.08.2016, 00:00 by Tamalika Ash, Tanay Debnath, Tahamida Banu, Abhijit Kumar Das
A mechanistic investigation has been carried out to explore all possible gas phase unimolecular isomerization as well as decomposition pathways of toxic organophosphorus compounds (OPCs), namely, sarin (GB) and soman (GD), which are better known as nerve agents. We have identified a total of 13 detoxication pathways for sarin, where the α-H, β-H, and γ-H take part in the H-transfer process. However, for soman, due to the presence of ω-H, three additional detoxication pathways are obtained, where the ω-H is involved in the H-transfer process. Among all the pathways, the D3 decomposition pathway, where the phosphorus oxoacid derivative and alkene are generated via the formation of a six-membered ring in the transition state, is identified as the most feasible pathway from the perspective of both activation barrier and reaction enthalpy values. Moreover, we have studied the feasibility of the isomerization and decomposition pathways by performing the reaction kinetics in the temperature range of 300 K–1000 K using the one-dimensional Rice–Ramsperger–Kassel–Marcus (RRKM) master equation. From the RRKM calculation also, D3 pathway is confirmed as the most feasible pathway for both OPCs. The rate constant values associated with the D3 pathway within the temperature range of 600 K–700 K imply that the degradation of the OPCs is possible within this temperature range via the D3 pathway, which is in good agreement with the earlier reported experimental result. It is also observed that at higher temperature range (∼900 K), the increased rate constant values of other detoxication pathways indicate that along with D3, all other pathways become more or less equally feasible. Therefore, the entire work provides a widespread idea about the kinetic as well as thermodynamic feasibility of the explored detoxication pathways of the titled OPCs.