Ultra-selective ligand-driven separation of strategic actinides
Gauthier J.-P. Deblonde, Abel Ricano & Rebecca J. Abergel
Metal ion separations are critical to numerousfields, including nuclear medicine, wasterecycling, space exploration, and fundamental research. Nonetheless, operational conditionsand performance are limited, imposing compromises between recovery, purity, and cost.Siderophore-inspired ligands show unprecedented charge-based selectivity and compatibilitywith harsh industry conditions, affording excellent separation efficiency, robustness andprocess control. Here, we successfully demonstrate a general separation strategy on threedistinct systems, for Ac, Pu, and Bk purification. Separation factors (SF) obtained with modelcompound 3,4,3-LI(1,2-HOPO) are orders of magnitude higher than with any other ligandcurrently employed: 106between Ac and relevant metal impurities, and over 108for redox-free Pu purification against uranyl ions and trivalent actinides orfission products. Finally,a one-step separation method (SF > 3 × 106and radiopurity > 99.999%) enables the isolationof Bk from adjacent actinides andfission products. The proposed approach offers a paradigmchange for the production of strategic elements.
Full article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10240-x.epdf?author_access_token=0bMOSggKFWk-rMDZvwdF2dRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0P0WhESc3vqzmdSObNwVAJ7bXq0YKzQz36fG4_Y5IlOsK_j-V9a-JVsGkwd7kEtRF1yVrSdsyBsGYkP0thD-KdyOSUv_W1FK7bTn9S1JHPEbg==