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Selective sorption of actinides by titania nanoparticles covalently functionalized with simple organic ligands.

Authors
  • Veliscek-Carolan, Jessica
  • Jolliffe, Katrina A
  • Hanley, Tracey L
Type
Published Article
Journal
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Publisher
American Chemical Society
Publication Date
Nov 27, 2013
Volume
5
Issue
22
Pages
11984–11994
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1021/am403727x
PMID: 24180219
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Although current and proposed reprocessing of used nuclear fuel is performed predominantly by solvent extraction processes, solid phase sorbent materials have many advantages including the ability to avoid production of large volumes of organic waste. Therefore, three titania nanoparticle based sorbent materials have been developed, functionalized with organic ligands designed to impart selectivity for elements relevant to important separations at the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. A novel, simplified method of covalent functionalization to the titania surface has been utilized, and the resulting materials have been shown to be hydrolytically stable at pH 2. The sorption behavior of these organofunctionalized titania materials was investigated over a wide pH range with a selection of elements including fission products and actinides. Titania nanoparticles functionalized with an amine or phosphate moiety were able to demonstrate exclusive extraction of uranium under optimized conditions. Titania nanoparticles functionalized with a picolinamide moiety exhibited superior minor actinide sorption properties, in terms of both efficiency and selectivity, to solvent extraction processes using similar organic moieties. As such, organo-functionalized titania materials as solid phase sorbents show promise as a future alternative to solvent extraction processes for nuclear separations.

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