Ward group paper on Binding of Chemical Warfare Agent analogues hits the news

Cage with alkyl phosphonate insideA new paper from Mike Ward's group, on binding of Chemical Warfare Agent analogues inside hollow co-ordination cages, has been highlighted in news reports by the Royal Society of Chemistry and Scientific American

The paper, just published in the RSC journal Chemical Communications, shows  how small molecules (alkyl phosphonates) that are commonly used as safe analogues of chemical warfare agents can bind inside the cavities of hollow molecules. The idea behind these cages is that they are water-soluble, but provide an internal environment, which is hydrophobic, so that it "provides a haven for molecules that are not happy in water," according to MIke Ward. However, the really exciting consequence is that binding these molecules inside the cages also causes a change in their luminescence - providing a simple optical response that will allow the presence of a chemical warfare agent to be visualised.

The open-access article is available here

Edit 15/04/2016: This article has now also been picked up by a Dutch website (kennislink.nl). It can be found here.