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Workshop / Seminar

Chemistry Departmental Seminar — Prof. Karah Knope, Georgetown University

Fulmer Hall
Room 201
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About the event

From complexes to clusters: solid-state structural chemistry of tetravalent metal ions

Structural chemistry has played an important role in our understanding of the chemical and physical behavior of the heavy elements. Yet our understanding of the chemistry, bonding, and reactivity of actinide complexes and clusters still lags behind that of the rest of the Periodic Table. This lack of structural and chemical information has led to large discrepancies in thermodynamic data, significant challenges in process chemistry, and the unexpected mobility of heavy elements in the environment. With an eye towards filling this knowledge gap, over the past several years our group has harnessed both ligand complexation and noncovalent interactions towards the isolation of novel An(IV) and Ce(IV) structural units from aqueous solution. Using different synthetic approaches, spectroscopic and scattering techniques, and solid-state structural characterization methods we have sought to unravel the (often competing) factors that govern actinide species formation and reactivity. Presented here will be an overview of our work focused on the impact that metal ion-, counterion-, and ligand-identity as well solution conditions have on tetravalent metal ion solid-state structural chemistry. Our more recent efforts to pivot away from aqueous solutions and towards ligand scaffolds that afford a greater degree of control over actinide cluster chemistry will also be discussed.