Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Counter Agent

Anti-nerve agent lattice that could be incorporated into protective materials

01 February 2020

Counter Agent

Nerve agents are poisons that block signals through the nervous system to the rest of the body, often leading to permanent damage or death. Their use as weapons has declined since World War II, but unfortunately protection is still required, and this newly-created chemical structure may hold the key. A metal-organic framework (MOF) made from a lattice of organic threads holds tiny lumps, or nodes, of zirconium – creating round 'pores' that capture molecules of nerve agents like VX. The pores also have room for water collected from the atmosphere, an essential ingredient in hydrolysis reactions which break down the poison particles. Weaving MOFs into materials used to make protective suits or masks will hopefully pit science against science to protect human lives from these horrible manmade chemicals.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.