Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry Investigation of BTBP - Lanthanide(III) and Actinide(III) Complexes
Journal article, 2009
In the framework of nuclear waste reprocessing, the separation processes of minor actinides from fission products are developed using liquid-liquid extraction. To gain an understanding of the mechanism involved in the extraction process, a complex formation of actinides and lanthanides with BTBPs (6,6'-bis(5,6-dialkyl-1,2,4-triazin-3-yl)-2,2'-bipyridines) was characterized using the Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (ESI-MS) technique. This study was carried out to compare the influence of diluents and side groups of the extractants on complex formation. Three different diluents, nitrobenzene, octanol and cyclohexanone, and two extractants, C5-BTBP and CyMe4-BTBP, were selected for this experiment. It was found that the change of the diluent and of the substituent on the BTBP moiety does not modify the stoichiometry of the complexes which is L2M(NO3)3. It is proposed that one nitrate is directly coordinated to the metal ion, the two other anions probably remaining in the outer coordination sphere. The difference observed in extracting properties is probably due to the solvation of the complexes by the diluent. The noncovalent force that holds complexes together are likely to be largely governed by electrostatic interactions even if the hydrophobic exterior of the complexes plays an important role in the complexation/extraction mechanism. The study of the stability of the ions in the gas phase shows that the C5-BTBP ligand has a labile hydrogen atom, which is a fragility point of C5-BTBP.