What, oh, what are those actinides doing?

Aug 20, 2007
What, oh, what are those actinides doing?
Researchers are discovering how actinides such as uranium in solution interact with magnetite and other mineral surfaces. Credit: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are uniting theory, computation and experiment to discover exactly how heavy elements, such as uranium and technetium, interact in their environment.

As part of that effort, scientists have combined sensitive experimental measurements with fi rst principle electronic structure calculations to measure, and to really understand, the structural and bonding parameters of uranyl, the most common oxidation state of uranium in systems containing water.

The insights were achieved by PNNL scientist Bert de Jong and associates Gary Groenewold of Idaho National Laboratory and Michael Van Stipdonk of Wichita State University, employing the supercomputing resources of the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a Department of Energy national scientifi c user facility located at PNNL.

The large number and behavior of electrons in heavy elements makes most of them extremely diffi cult to study. De Jong said that advancements in computing power and theory are enabling computational actinide chemistry to contribute significantly to the understanding and interpretation of experimental chemistry data, as well as to predicting the chemical and physical properties of heavy transition metal, lanthanide and actinide complexes.

“Now we can make sure we get the right answer for the right reason,” de Jong said, adding that results obtained from the calculations are an invaluable supplement to current, very expensive and often hazardous experimental studies.

Researchers are discovering how actinides such as uranium in solution interact with magnetite and other mineral surfaces.

Discoveries made using the new capabilities available to the growing field of computational actinide chemistry could have wide impact, from radioactive waste and cleanup challenges to the design and operation of future nuclear facilities.

Bert De Jong will make his presentation at the 234th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston.

Source: DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Explore further: Researchers develop models to study polyelectrolytes, including DNA and RNA

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Staying cool in the nanoelectric universe by getting hot

Jan 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —As smartphones, tablets and other gadgets become smaller and more sophisticated, the heat they generate while in use increases. This is a growing problem because it can cause the electronics ...

Recommended for you

Water and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuel

1 hour ago

An Australian National University (ANU) team has successfully replicated one of the crucial steps in photosynthesis, opening the way for biological systems powered by sunlight which could manufacture hydrogen ...

Rice chemist wins 'Nobel Prize of Cyprus'

1 hour ago

Rice University organic chemist K.C. Nicolaou has earned three prestigious international honors, including the Nemitsas Prize, the highest honor a Cypriot scientist can receive and one of the most prestigious ...

Researchers create engineered energy absorbing material

2 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Materials like solid gels and porous foams are used for padding and cushioning, but each has its own advantages and limitations. Gels are effective as padding but are relatively heavy; gel performance ...

Solar fuels as generated by nature

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Society's energy supply problems could be solved in the future using a model adopted from nature. During photosynthesis, plants, algae and some species of bacteria produce sugars and other energy-rich ...

New tool identifies therapeutic proteins in a 'snap'

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —In human and bacterial cells, glycosylation – the chemical process of attaching complex sugar molecules to proteins – is as fundamental as it gets, affecting every biological mechanism from cell signaling ...

User comments : 0