Displacement Pipet (size M25) or equivalent]
Personal protection equipment
Face shield (Oberon Face-Fit Faceshield no. FF288R or equivalent)
Chemical splash goggles
Apron, Zetex (Fisher No. 17-986-13M or equivalent)
Chemical resistant gloves
Bucket of wet sand
Chemicals and Reagents
White phosphorus (P4) CAS no. 7723-14-0, Aldrich Chemical Co. no. 30,255-4
Water, reagent-grade (Millipore MilliQ or equivalent)
Add reagent grade water to the glass dish or tray to a depth of 30 cm. Place dish in fume
Remove the container of white phosphorus from the refrigerator (< 4C). Place in fume
hood and remove the lid from the container (Fig. A1a).
Tilt the container so that the lip is close to the surface of the water in the dish.
Use forceps and gently slide a stick of white phosphorus from the container into the glass
dish (Fig. A1b). Since the white phosphorus is cold, it will not ignite from this brief exposure
to air. Be certain that there is enough water in the glass dish to completely cover the stick of
white phosphorus. The stick of white phosphorus will probably be covered with a white oxi-
Use forceps to hold the white phosphorus steady against the bottom of the dish while slic-
ing through one end of the stick with a razor blade. This cut should leave a lustrous surface.
Cut the stick again to obtain a slice approximately 2 mm thick (Fig. A1c). Then trim the
edges of the slice so that all surfaces are lustrous (Fig. A1d).
Place the remaining stick and trimmings in a plastic bottle containing sufficient reagent
grade water to cover the white phosphorus. Label the bottle properly, then place the bottle in
a refrigerator. Also, label the original container of white phosphorus indicating that some
white phosphorus has been removed and return this container to the refrigerator.
Place a test tube horizontally on the bottom of the glass dish. The test tube will fill with
water. Use the forceps to place the freshly cut piece of white phosphorus in the test tube (Fig.
Add approximately 700 mL of reagent grade water to a 1-L beaker, and place the beaker
next to the glass dish. Place two 50-mL beakers on the bottom of the 1-L beaker.
Use tongs to transfer the test tube containing the white phosphorus from the glass dish to
the 1-L beaker. One of the 50-mL beakers will support the test tube in an upright position (Fig.
A1f). Place additional test tubes in the 1-L beaker (Fig. A1g). These test tubes will serve to
isolate the white phosphorus particles once they are produced. Be certain that there is suffi-
cient water in the 1-L beaker to completely immerse all test tubes. The top of the water in the
beaker should be greater than 5 cm above the tops of the test tubes.
Place the 1-L beaker on a hot plate in the fume hood. Heat until the water reaches 54C (Fig.
A1g). The white phosphorus should melt at 44C.
Remove the 1-L beaker from the hot plate.
Caution: Molten white phosphorus will ignite if exposed to air. If accidentally exposed to
air, immediately cover the fire with water or wet sand.
Depress the plunger and insert the tip of a positive displacement micropipet into the mol-
ten white phosphorus. Obtain droplets of the desired size (e.g., 3-L) from the molten white