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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Heptavalent Actinide Tetroxides NpO4- and PuO4-: Oxidation of Pu(V) to Pu(VII) by Adding an Electron to PuO4.


The highest known actinide oxidation states are Np(VII) and Pu(VII), both of which have been identified in solution and solid compounds. Recently a molecular Np(VII) complex, NpO3(NO3)2-, was prepared and characterized in the gas phase. In accord with the lower stability of heptavalent Pu, no Pu(VII) molecular species has been identified. Reported here are the gas-phase syntheses and characterizations of NpO4- and PuO4-. Reactivity studies and density functional theory computations indicate the heptavalent metal oxidation state in both. This is the first instance of Pu(VII) in the absence of stabilizing effects due to condensed phase solvation or crystal fields. The results indicate that addition of an electron to neutral PuO4, which has a computed electron affinity of 2.56 eV, counterintuitively results in oxidation of Pu(V) to Pu(VII), concomitant with superoxide reduction.

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