Journal article

Uranyl complexes formed with a para-t-butylcalix[4]arene bearing phosphinoyl pendant arms on the lower rim. Solid and solution studies

The current interest in functionalized calixarenes with phosphorylated pendant arms resides in their coordination ability towards f elements and capability towards actinide/rare earth separation. Uranyl cation forms 1: 1 and 1: 2 (M : L) complexes with a tetra-phosphinoylated p-tert-butylcalix[4]arene, B(4)bL(4): UO2(NO3)(2)(B(4)bL(4))(n)center dot xH(2)O (n = 1, x = 2, 1; n = 2, x = 6, 2). Spectroscopic data point to the inner coordination sphere of 1 containing one monodentate nitrate anion, one water molecule and the four phosphinoylated arms bound to UO22+ while in 2, uranyl is only coordinated to calixarene ligands. In both cases the U(VI) ion is 8-coordinate. Uranyl complexes display enhanced metal-centred luminescence due to energy transfer from the calixarene ligands; the luminescence decays are bi-exponential with associated lifetimes in the ranges 220 mu s < tau(s) <250 mu s and 630 mu s < tau(L) < 640 mu s, pointing to the presence of two species with differently coordinated calixarene, as substantiated by a XPS study of U(4f(5/2, 7/2)), O(1s) and P(2p) levels on solid state samples. The extraction study of UO22+ cation and trivalent rare-earth (Y, La, Eu) ions from acidic nitrate media by B(4)bL(4) in chloroform shows the uranyl cation being much more extracted than rare earths.


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