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  1. Potentiometric and spectroscopic techniques were combined with DFT calculations to probe the coordination environment and determine thermodynamic features of trivalent f-element complexation by N-hydroxyethyl-diethylenetriamine-N,N',N",N"-tetraacetic acid, HEDTTA. Ligand protonation constants and lanthanide stability constants were determined using potentiometry. Five protonation constants were accessible in I = 2.0 M (H +/Na +)ClO 4. UV–vis spectroscopy was used to determine stability constants for Nd 3+ and Am 3+ complexation with HEDTTA. Luminescence spectroscopy indicates two water molecules in the inner coordination sphere of the Eu/HEDTTA complex, suggesting HEDTTA is heptadentate. Luminescence data was supported by DFT calculations, which demonstrate that substitution of themore » acetate pendant arm by a N-hydroxyethyl group weakens the metal–nitrogen bond. This bond elongation is reflected in HEDTTA’s ability to differentiate trivalent actinides from trivalent lanthanides. The trans-lanthanide Ln/HEDTTA complex stability trend is analogous to Ln/DTPA complexation; however, the loss of one chelate ring resulting from structural substitution weakens the complexation by ~3 orders of magnitude. Successful separation of trivalent americium from trivalent lanthanides was demonstrated when HEDTTA was utilized as aqueous holdback complexant in a liquid–liquid system. Time-dependent extraction studies for HEDTTA were compared to diethylenetriamine-N,N,N',N",N"-pentaacetic acid (DTPA) and N-hydroxyethyl-ethylenediamine-N,N',N'-triacetic acid (HEDTA). The results presented here indicate substantially enhanced phase-transfer kinetic rates for mixtures containing HEDTTA.« less

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