Highly Tunable 4-Phosphoryl Pyrazolone Receptors for Selective Rare-Earth Separation

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Highly selective rare-earth separation has become increasingly important due to the indispensable role of these elements in various cutting-edge technologies including clean energy. However, the similar physicochemical properties of rare-earth elements (REEs) render their separation very challenging, and the development of new selective receptors for these elements is potentially of very considerable economic and environmental importance. Herein, we report the development of a series of 4-phosphoryl pyrazolone receptors for the selective separation of trivalent lanthanum, europium, and ytterbium as the representatives of light, middle, and heavy REEs, respectively. X-ray crystallography studies were employed to obtain solid-state structures across 11 of the resulting complexes, allowing comparative structure-function relationships to be probed, including the effect of lanthanide contraction that occurs along the series from lanthanum to europium to ytterbium and which potentially provides a basis for REE ion separation. In addition, the influence of ligand structure and lipophilicity on lanthanide binding and selectivity was systematically investigated via n-octanol/water distribution and liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) studies. Corresponding stoichiometry relationships between solid and solution states were well established using slope analyses. The results provide new insights into some fundamental lanthanide coordination chemistry from a separation perspective and establish 4-phosphoryl pyrazolone derivatives as potential practical extraction reagents for the selective separation of REEs in the future.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3212-3228
Number of pages17
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85147989047
ORCID /0000-0001-7323-7816/work/142257482