Highly efficient separation of actinides from lanthanides by a phenanthroline-derived bis-triazine ligand

Frank W Lewis, Laurence M Harwood, Michael J Hudson, Michael G B Drew, Jean F Desreux, Geoffrey Vidick, Nouri Bouslimani, Giuseppe Modolo, Andreas Wilden, Michal Sypula, Trong-Hung Vu, Jean-Pierre Simonin
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2011 August 24, 133 (33): 13093-102
The synthesis, lanthanide complexation, and solvent extraction of actinide(III) and lanthanide(III) radiotracers from nitric acid solutions by a phenanthroline-derived quadridentate bis-triazine ligand are described. The ligand separates Am(III) and Cm(III) from the lanthanides with remarkably high efficiency, high selectivity, and fast extraction kinetics compared to its 2,2'-bipyridine counterpart. Structures of the 1:2 bis-complexes of the ligand with Eu(III) and Yb(III) were elucidated by X-ray crystallography and force field calculations, respectively. The Eu(III) bis-complex is the first 1:2 bis-complex of a quadridentate bis-triazine ligand to be characterized by crystallography. The faster rates of extraction were verified by kinetics measurements using the rotating membrane cell technique in several diluents. The improved kinetics of metal ion extraction are related to the higher surface activity of the ligand at the phase interface. The improvement in the ligand's properties on replacing the bipyridine unit with a phenanthroline unit far exceeds what was anticipated based on ligand design alone.

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