Protactinium, a weirdo?
This project aims at revealing the so far uncatched chemical behavior of protactinium in solution and questioning potential analogies with thorium and uranium.
Protactinium is thought as a crossing point within the actinide series, in between thorium (“transition-metal like”) and uranium (“actinide like”). (Un)fortunately, it is usually co-occuring with these other two elements and separation is required for making applications real. For interpreting previous experiments as well as for guiding future ones, I have proposed to determine relative complexation constants from quantum mechanical approaches. Conceptually, the global problem may be split into two, (i) the electronic structure theory problem and (ii) the solvation one. Thus, preliminary adjustments of the methodology will be performed prior to tackling real cases.
This project aims at developing new methodologies for predicting the physico-chemical behavior of polonium in solution.
Polonium is one of the rarest elements on Earth. Due to its rarity and its notorious toxicity, chemical studies dedicated to this element remain rather incomplete. However, for many applications, e.g. for trace detection, knowledge on its basic chemistry may be key to success. For facilitating future experimental studies, we thus aim at predicting from theory absorption spectra of basic and complex chemical species of polonium as well as equilibrium constants to describe key speciation changes. This project if based on quantum mechanical approaches as well as of innovative multi-scale approaches coupling quantum mechanics with classical physics. It constitutes a collaboration between three institutes of CNRS via the Theory team of Subatech, the PCMT team of the PhLAM laboratory (Lille, FR) and the ModES team of the CEISAM one (Nantes, FR).