Complexes could help inform researchers working on nuclear fuel reprocessing and radioactive waste management

Molecular structures of the two {Np38} clusters Np38O56Cl18(bz)24(THF)8 (1, a) and Np38O56Cl42(ipa)20

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry

Molecular structures of the two {Np38} clusters: Np38O56Cl18(bz)24(THF)8 (a) and Np38O56Cl42(ipa)20 (b) (bz = benzoate, THF = tetrahydrofuran, ipa = isopropanol)

Scientists from France and Germany have synthesised the largest discrete neptunium complexes to date. The two cluster complexes of tetravalent neptunium are the missing link in the poly-oxo cluster series of tetravalent actinides.

Poly-oxo clusters of actinides (An) are of particular importance to aqueous systems associated with the nuclear industry. Scientists have synthesised {An38} clusters for the actinides either side of neptunium in the periodic table but no reports of {Np38} clusters existed in the literature, until now. 

A team around Thierry Loiseau, from the University of Lille, and Atsushi Ikeda-Ohno, from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, obtained the two {NP38} clusters, Np38O56Cl18(bz)24(THF)8·nTHF and Np38O56Cl42(ipa)20·mipa, using solvothermal synthesis. Both clusters have the same {Np14} core surrounded by six tetranuclear {Np4} subunits and both clusters crystallise in the same tetragonal space group as the analogous {U38} clusters.