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Research Highlight

Unprecedented Intra-Lanthanide Separation Achieved

Chem Euro J cover Mar 2019


Preorganized phenanthroline-based ligand (BLPhen) shows an exceptionally high, reverse selectivity for light lanthanides.

Significance and Impact

Increased separation factors imply the potential for large reduction of numbers of stages (up to 4X) and by extension CAPEX.

Research Details

  • Selectivity of BLPhen decreases steeply across the series, the useful opposite of the industrial benchmark.
  • Unprecedented separation factor of 6.6 for Pr/Nd contrasts with a more typical value of 1.5.
  • This work underscores the importance of the principle of ligand rigidity to achieve difficult REE selectivity.
  • BLPhen rejects key competing metals like Fe and Cu but binds strongly with valuable Ag and Pd. 

M. Healy, A. Ivanov, Y. Karslyan, V. Bryantsev, B. Moyer, and S. Jansone-Popova. Chemistry – A European Journal (2019) DOI: 10.1002/chem.201806443.