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Kinetics of triscarbonato uranyl reduction by aqueous ferrous iron: a theoretical study.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
The journal of physical chemistry. A
Publication Date
Volume
110
Issue
31
Pages
9691–9701
Identifiers
PMID: 16884201
Source
Medline

Abstract

Uranium is a pollutant whose mobility is strongly dependent on its oxidation state. While U(VI) in the form of the uranyl cation is readily reduced by a range of natural reductants, by contrast complexation of uranyl by carbonate greatly reduces its reduction potential and imposes increased electron transfer (ET) distances. Very little is known about the elementary processes involved in uranium reduction from U(VI) to U(V) to U(IV) in general. In this study, we examine the theoretical kinetics of ET from ferrous iron to triscarbonato uranyl in aqueous solution. A combination of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and density functional theory (DFT) electronic structure calculations is employed to compute the parameters that enter into Marcus' ET model, including the thermodynamic driving forces, reorganization energies, and electronic coupling matrix elements. MD simulations predict that two ferrous iron atoms will bind in an inner-sphere fashion to the three-membered carbonate ring of triscarbonato uranyl, forming the charge-neutral ternary Fe(2)UO(2)(CO(3))(3)(H(2)O)(8) complex. Through a sequential proton-coupled electron-transfer mechanism (PCET), the first ET step converting U(VI) to U(V) is predicted by DFT to occur with an electronic barrier that corresponds to a rate on the order of approximately 1 s(-1). The second ET step converting U(V) to U(IV) is predicted to be significantly endergonic. Therefore, U(V) is a stabilized end product in this ET system, in agreement with experiment.

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