Optically Transparent Cell Design for Spectroelectrochemisty
Separating actinides from lanthanides is currently a matter of great importance directly impacting the nuclear industry as well as separation science at large. This study will show through electrochemical and spectrophotometric analysis that different oxidation states of uranium can be achieved electrochemically and stabilized with various ligands and in various chemical environments. U(VI) ions in the form of uranyl ions are electrochemical reduced to U(III) in both aqueous and non-aqueous environments and then analyzed via UV-Vis, FT-IR and FT-raman verifying the shifted oxidation state or type of complexation formed by the central uranium atom. Using a specially designed spectroelectrochemical (SEC) cell both types of analysis can be done simultaneously allowing for in-situ complexation of uranium with ligands which will stabilize the highly reactive U(III) species. This process although complex may allow for the development of a separation of actinide from lanthanide methodology.