Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cleaving Off Uranyl Oxygens through Chelation: A Mechanistic Study in the Gas Phase.


Recent efforts to activate the strong uranium-oxygen bonds in the dioxo uranyl cation have been limited to single oxo-group activation through either uranyl reduction and functionalization in solution, or by collision induced dissociation (CID) in the gas-phase, using mass spectrometry (MS). Here, we report and investigate the surprising double activation of uranyl by an organic ligand, 3,4,3-LI(CAM), leading to the formation of a formal U6+ chelate in the gas-phase. The cleavage of both uranyl oxo bonds was experimentally evidenced by CID, using deuterium and 18O isotopic substitutions, and by infrared multiple photon dissociation (IRMPD) spectroscopy. Density functional theory (DFT) computations predict that the overall reaction requires only 132 kJ/mol, with the first oxygen activation entailing about 107 kJ/mol. Combined with analysis of similar, but unreactive ligands, these results shed light on the chelation-driven mechanism of uranyl oxo bond cleavage, demonstrating its dependence on the presence of ligand hydroxyl protons available for direct interactions with the uranyl oxygens.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View