1,2-Hydroxypyridinone (1,2-HOPO) ligands were installed as self-assembled monolayers on nanoporous silica (MCM-41) to create a superior class of sorbent materials for lanthanide cations. Lanthanides were used as a model system for the radioactive, expensive, and highly hazardous actinidesin preliminary screening studies. The ligand properties of the 1,2-HOPO ligand field and the extremely large surface area of MCM-41, coupled with the dense monolayer coating, contribute to the extremely high lanthanide binding capacity of the 1,2-HOPO nanoporous sorbent. At pH 4–5.9,the mass-weighted partition coefficients (Kd) for La, Nd, Eu, and Lu were 354000, 344 000, 210 800, and 419 800, respectively. The rigid, open pore structure of the silica also allows for very rapid sorption. Being silica-based, the sorbent is compatible with vitrification processinginto a final glasseous waste form, for subsequent disposition in a deep geological repository.
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