As we have all heard, in 2018, a series of poisonings with a nerve agent alleged to be of the Novichok series was carried out on British soil. It is claimed that the agent used was A-234. However, a novichok agent was also previously used in the poisoning of a banker named Ivan Kivelidi in 1995.

The Russian Wikipedia page on Novichoks states that not only was the mass spectrum of A-234 published in NIST by someone affiliated with Edgewood Arsenal, but also provides the mass spectrum of the agent used in the Kivelidi case.

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Top: Mass Spectrum of chemical agent used in the Kivelidi case. Bottom: Mass Spectrum of A-234 as published by Edgewood.

As one will notice, the spectra almost match, except for the fact that the top spectrum contains a peak with a mass of 42.The bottom spectrum has no such peak. What is the significance of this peak? How would the structure of the agent in the Kivelidi case differ from A-234? Is the A-234 spectrum correct?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can you link to the NIST entry? It would be useful to know the instrument settings used for the Edgewood spectrum. Could be that m<50 was excluded from spectrum $\endgroup$
    – Andrew
    Jun 27 '20 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Andrew The NIST entry was deleted sometime after it was published. This is all that remains: archive.org/details/Edgewood $\endgroup$
    – user73910
    Jun 27 '20 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ Do you know how the pattern of mass spectra develop, via the fragmentation of the ionised original molecule? $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Jun 27 '20 at 22:06

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