Coordination chemistry of actinides


Fundamental knowledge on the coordination chemistry of actinides is essential for assessing the migration behavior of actinides in the near- and far-field of a nuclear waste repository, for the development and optimization of extraction processes in the framework of the partitioning & transmutation strategy, and for toxicological studies on the impact of actinides in the human body. Therefore, spectroscopic investigations on the coordination of actinides and lanthanides with inorganic, organic, and biological ligands are performed to provide fundamental information on the bonding and the coordination structure. Our research focuses on the following topics:


  • Spectroscopic speciation of lanthanide and actinide complexes with „partitioning relevant” N-donor ligands (BTP, BTBP) as a prerequisite for the development of partitioning strategies to selectively separate trivalent actinides from fission lanthanides.
  • Complexation studies of actinides at elevated temperature (20-200°C) for deriving speciation and thermodynamic data which are essential for a reliable assessment of the chemical behavior of actinides in the near field of a nuclear waste repository.
  • Interaction of actinides with blood serum proteins (transferrin, albumin etc.) to obtain information on the bioavailability and toxicity of actinides in the human body providing a basis for a future design of effective decontamination agents.


Our laboratories are equipped with the required infrastructure to perform actinide/radionuclide research. State-of-the-art analytical instruments and methods as well as advanced spectroscopic tools (time-resolved laser fluorescence spectroscopy (TRLFS) and X-ray absorptions spectroscopy (XANES/EXAFS) are applied for analysis and speciation of actinide/lanthanide compounds.


We are allowed to handle actinide samples with activities below the exemption level (StrlSchV) in our radiochemistry laboratories in Heidelberg (building 504). Experimental work using higher actinide concentrations is performed in the controlled area of the Institute of Nuclear Waste Disposal, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT-Campus North):


KIT - Institut für Nukleare Entsorgung