LLNL has developed a technology that could be useful for carbon capture, fluorescence trace metal analysis and the hydrolysis of organophosphorus-based materials. The technology was developed as a much needed solution for eradication of organophosphorus-based compounds. These organophosphorus-based compounds, which range from the chronically toxic pesticides (e.g. paraoxon, chlorpyrifos) to the more acutely toxic nerve agents (e.g. VX, Sarin), have gained notorious prominence due to their lethal, inhibitory effect, even in extremely small concentrations.

Currently, technology aimed at the decontamination of surfaces, equipment, and places, involves the use of highly caustic, basic solutions as well as strong oxidizing technologies that unfortunately not only result in the OP-based compound demise, but results in significant damage to the surroundings. This poses a problem when one is faced with the decontamination of a highly expensive piece of equipment.

Metal complexes involving the coordination of Zinc (II), Cobalt (II) and (III), Copper (II) and Nickel (III) to amine-containing ligands pervade the literature and have found applications in areas like carbon capture and organophosphorus-based compound decontamination. The ligands often consist of a carbon framework possessing three or more nitrogen atoms for metal coordination. An important structural feature of these complexes is the presence of a water molecule as an additional ligand that under basic conditions can be transferred as a hydroxide ion to electrophilic species. Polyamine ligands have often been used, but pyridine-based ligands where the pyridine nitrogen acts as the metal-coordinating center have also received significant attention.


LLNL has developed a new class of nitrogenous ligands for metals and their complexes chosen for their known propensity to chelate metal ions. Further chemical modifications of this scaffold were performed to furnish a novel series of ligands that are capable of coordinating different metal ions.

  • The approach uses “Click Chemistry”, a term used to describe reactions that are simple to perform, give high yields, and create only byproducts that can be removed without chromatography, are stereospecific, and can be conducted in easily removable or benign solvents. Thus the metal complexes are fabricated in a clean, sustainable manner.
  • The LLNL technology can accomplish decontamination under mild conditions and in catalytic fashion, something that currently technologies lack.
  • The ligands can be assembled in 3-4 steps from readily, commercially-available and inexpensive components.
  • A myriad of analogs displaying different chemical, reactive and structural properties can be accomplished.
  • Complexation of these triazole-containing ligands to different metal ions opens their application in the areas of organophosphorus-based compound destruction, carbon capture technologies and in the study of triazole-based ligand-metal interactions.
Potential Applications

Potential uses of this invention include carbon capture, fluorescence trace metal analysis and the hydrolysis of organophosphorus-based materials. The chemical make-up of these catalytic species allows for their implementation in a number of different applications out of which medical countermeasures, agrochemical and self-regenerating catalytic surfaces are just a few.

Development Status

LLNL has filed for patent protection on this invention.

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