The design, synthesis, and characterization of polydentate polyphosphine ligands for actinide and lanthanide extraction



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Texas Tech University


As the proliferation of nuclear facilities continues, the need for a cheap, efficient way to selectively extract and separate the elements of the lanthanide and actinide families becomes paramount. "Wastes" from these facilities often contain long-lived radioactive particles (which must be safely removed and isolated from the environment) along with elements of great commercial or scientific value. Separation schemes exist, but better methods must be developed which offer the selectivity necessary to obtain useful, pure materials. These methods must be safe, easy to use, and cost effective.

A series of triphosphine oxide compounds with a tripodal structure have been synthesized for this purpose. These ligands should be ideal for the chelation of lanthanide and actinide ions. They allow for tridentate coordination and should separate radionuclides into small groups of like characteristics on the basis of size. By using tripods of increasing bite-size in series, it is should be possible to obtain effective separation of cations on the basis of size. Further selectivity should be provided by the substitution of either electron-withdrawing or electron-donating groups on the phosphorus atom. Electron-withdrawing groups cause the phosphine oxide to be a harder ligand while, conversely, electrondonating groups cause the phosphine oxide to become a softer ligand.

The synthesis, characterization and properties of this family of tripodal triphosphine oxides will be examined



Rare earth metals -- Separation, Phosphorus compounds -- Synthesis, Actinide elements -- Separation