Sarin nerve agent, molecular model

Sarin nerve agent, molecular model

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Credit: GREG WILLIAMS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sarin nerve agent, molecular model. Sarin is an organophosphorus nerve agent that has a lethal toxicity. It was discovered in Germany in 1938. As a cholinesterase inhibitor, it inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme from breaking down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is considered a weapon of mass destruction, with no applications other than chemical warfare. The production of sarin was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. The molecular formula is C4.H10.P.O2.F. The atoms here are colour-coded: carbon (dark grey), hydrogen (white), oxygen (red), phosphorus (orange), and fluorine (green).

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