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Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles (MSNs) for Detoxification of Hazardous Organophorous Chemicals

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The study reports the effect of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) on detoxification of toxic organophorous compounds. Based on gravimetric sensing experiment with resonant microcantilever, rapid adsorption of the organophorous simulant of dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP) onto MSNs is confirmed. The experimentally observed irreversible gravimetric‐signal implies that substitution‐reaction possibly occurs at the nanomaterial surface. By exploring a method of gravimetric detection at different temperatures to obtain two isotherms, high reaction‐heat of 97.1 kJ mol−1 is extracted that indicates strong chemical interaction. Characterizations with solid‐state NMR and FT‐IR to the MSNs are performed during the adsorption/interaction process, revealing that substitution‐reaction exactly occurs. GC‐MS analysis to the post‐reaction vapor exhaust indicates that one or two methyl groups in a DMMP molecule can be substituted by hydrogen atom(s) through substitution‐reaction with silanol group(s) of MSNs, thereby, destructing DMMP into two sorts of new molecules. With such comprehensive analyses, the destruction/detoxification mechanism is clearly identified. To evaluate the detoxification performance of the MSNs, real toxic of dichlorvos is experimentally examined, resulting in that organophosphate dichlorvos is detoxified into non‐toxic dimethylphosphate. The low‐cost and producible MSNs are promising for detoxification to organophorous compounds. Besides, the micro‐gravimetric analysis method can be expanding for extensive researches on various functional materials.