Selective separation of light rare-earth elements by supramolecular encapsulation and precipitation

Joseph G. O’connell-danes, Bryne T. Ngwenya, Carole A. Morrison, Jason B. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Supramolecular chemical strategies for Rare Earth (RE) element separations are emerging which amplify the small changes in properties across the series to bias selectivity in extraction or precipitation. These advances are important as the REs are crucial to modern technologies yet their extraction, separation, and recycling using conventional techniques remain challenging. We report here a pre-organised triamidoarene platform which, under acidic, biphasic conditions, uniquely and selectively precipitates light RE nitratometalates as supramolecular capsules. The capsules exhibit both intra- and intermolecular hydrogen bonds that dictate selectivity, promote precipitation, and facilitate the straightforward release of the RE and recycling of the receptor. This work provides a self-assembly route to metal separations that exploits size and shape complementarity and has the potential to integrate into conventional processes due to its compatibility with acidic metal feed streams.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4497
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date3 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


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