Complexation and Redox Chemistry of Neptunium, Plutonium and Americium with a Hydroxylaminato Ligand

Jing Su, Thibault Cheisson, Alex McSkimming, Conrad Alexander Phillip Goodwin, Ida DiMucci, Thomas Albrecht-Schoenzart, Brian Scott, Enrique R Batista, Andrew Gaunt, Stosh Anthony Kozimor, Ping Yang, Eric J. Schelter

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The coordination modes and electronic properties of a strongly coordinating hydroxylaminato ligand with Np, Pu and Am were investigated.Complexes were characterized by a range of experimental and computational techniques. There is significant interest in ligands that can stabilize actinide ions in oxidation states that can be exploited to chemically differentiate 5f and 4f elements. Applications range from developing large-scale actinide separation strategies for nuclear industry processing to carrying out analytical studies that support environmental monitoring and remediation efforts. Here, we report syntheses and characterization of Np( iv ), Pu( iv ) and Am( iii ) complexes with N-tert -butyl- N -(pyridin-2-yl)hydroxylaminato, [2-( t BuNO)py] − (interchangeable hereafter with [( t BuNO)py] − ), a ligand which was previously found to impart remarkable stability to cerium in the +4 oxidation state. An[( t BuNO)py] 4 (An = Pu, 1; Np, 2) have been synthesized, characterized by X-ray diffraction, X-ray absorption, 1 H NMR and UV-vis-NIR spectroscopies, and cyclic voltammetry, along with computational modeling and analysis. In the case of Pu, oxidation of Pu( iii ) to Pu( iv ) was observed upon complexation with the [( t BuNO)py] − ligand. The Pu complex 1 and Np complex 2 were also isolated directly from Pu( iv ) and Np( iv ) precursors. Electrochemical measurements indicate that a Pu( iii ) species can be accessed upon one-electron reduction of 1 with a large negative reduction potential ( E 1/2 = −2.26 V vs. Fc +/0 ). Applying oxidation potentials to 1 and 2 resulted in ligand-centered electron transfer reactions, which is different from the previously reported redox chemistry of U IV [( t BuNO)py] 4 that revealed a stable U( v ) product. Treatment of an anhydrous Am( iii ) precursor with the [( t BuNO)py] − ligand did not result in oxidation to Am( iv ). Instead, the dimeric complex [Am III (μ 2 -( t BuNO)py)(( t BuNO)py) 2 ] 2 (3) was isolated. Complex 3 is a rare example of a structurally characterized non-aqueous Am-containing molecular complex prepared using inert atmosphere techniques. Predicted redox potentials from density functional theory calculations show a trivalent accessibility trend of U( iii ) < Np( iii ) < Pu( iii ) and that the higher oxidation states of actinides ( i.e. , +5 for Np and Pu and +4 for Am) are not stabilized by [2-( t BuNO)py] − , in good agreement with experimental observations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13343-13359
JournalChemical Science
Issue number40
Early online date3 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2021


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