Shape-Selective Supramolecular Capsules for Actinide Precipitation and Separation

Joseph O’Connell-Danes, Bryne T. Ngwenya, Carole A. Morrison, Gary S. Nichol, Lætitia H. Delmau, Jason B. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Improving actinide separations is key to reducing barriers to medical and industrial actinide isotope production and to addressing the challenges associated with the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Here, we report the first example of a supramolecular anion recognition process that can achieve this goal. We have designed a preorganized triamidoarene receptor that induces quantitative precipitation of the early actinides Th(IV), Np(IV), and Pu(IV) from industrially relevant conditions through the formation of self-assembled hydrogen-bonded capsules. Selectivity over the later An(III) elements is shown through modulation of the nitric acid concentration, and no precipitation of actinyl or transition-metal ions occurs. The Np, Pu, and Am precipitates were characterized structurally by single-crystal X-ray diffraction and reveal shape specificity of the internal hydrogen-bonding array for the encapsulated hexanitratometalates. This work complements ion-exchange resins for 5f-element separations and illustrates the significant potential of supramolecular separation methods that target anionic actinide species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-806
JournalJACS Au
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • anion recognition
  • f-elements
  • nuclear chemistry
  • radiochemistry
  • supramolecular


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