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EPSRC Reference: EP/C013360/1
Title: An exploration of transuranic electronic structure through actinyl coordination to polyoxometalates
Principal Investigator: Winpenny, Professor RE
Other Investigators:
Kaltsoyannis, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
BNFL City University of New York Research Centre Rossendorf e.V.
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 December 2005 Ends: 30 November 2008 Value (£): 269,283
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Co-ordination Chemistry
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The radioactive actinide elements (all f-transition metals) form the last complete class of elements in the periodic table. The two most well known actinides are uranium and plutonium, primarily due to their application in nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Two other actinides, neptunium and americium, are similarly important with respect to nuclear waste management. However, despite the key technological and environmental significance of all four elements, most chemical laboratories are restricted to research on uranium due to the high radioactivity of the other three elements. Little is known about the highly radioactive, yet very important, neptunium, plutonium and americium.In contrast, the chemistry of non-radioactive tungsten (a d-transition metal) is much better understood. Our interest in tungsten stems from its ability to form heteropolyoxotungstates (HPTs), compounds which feature linked oxygen octahedra surrounding tungsten atoms and which also incorporate additional 'hetero' elements. Many of these HPT compounds can bind to different metal cations, including actinide cations. Recently we have shown that the uranyl cation (an important linear dioxo unit of uranium) will readily bind to selected HPT ligands, and we have evidence to suggest that actinyl cations of neptunium, plutonium and americium will behave in the same way.We propose to study the interaction between the full range of actinyl cations (i.e. those of uranium, neptunium, plutonium and americium) with HPT ligands in an attempt to greatly increase our understanding of the chemistry of the tranuranium elements (i.e. those beyond uranium, including neptunium, plutonium and americium). This will be achieved, experimentally, by accessing specialist facilities for transuranium chemistry in the UK (at Manchester and BNFL Sellafield), elsewhere in Europe and in the US. By accessing a wide range of chemical techniques we will gain a very thorough understanding of the bonding interactions in the complexes that we prepare. The chemistry will be very challenging, with experiments using only a few milligrams of transuranium element, contrasting with the solely tungsten chemistry where many grams of HPT ligand can be prepared safely in a research laboratory. This experimental research will be complemented by a computational study in which state of the art computer programs will be used to study the actinide compounds prepared, and further advance our knowledge of the chemistry of the actinide elements.
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk