Professor Liddle said: “There is currently a lot of interest in using organic molecules to extract, selectively, metal ions from the ‘soup’ of nuclear waste and fish out the ‘bad’ ones and leave the rest behind. This requires an understanding of chemical bonding and how the organic extractants bind to different metals. We can then exploit this knowledge to achieve separation by having them selectively bind to one type of metal and remove it from the soup.
Evidence is mounting
There is mounting evidence that the molecules that are best at this contain soft donor atoms to the metals, so we need to understand soft donor-to-metal binding better. Arsenic is a soft donor. So, using Arsenic, which occurs naturally in many minerals, we have created model complexes to understand the nature of the bonding. We might be able to use this new knowledge and understanding in a real system in the future.”
Professor Liddle’s work
has already been highlighted in the scientific media such as Science, Nature family, Chemistry World, Chemical and Engineering News and Chemistry in Australia. Professor Liddle also appears frequently on the School of Chemistry’s Periodic Table of Videos
Outstanding research has gone from strength to strength
Professor Liddle’s research in this field dates back to November 2009 when he was recognised for his outstanding and creative early career research with a £890,000 Starting Independent Research Grant (StG) by the newly established European Research Council (ERC) to study speculative and ground-breaking research
into molecular depleted uranium chemistry uranium.
His group’s search for cleaner, low temperature nuclear fuels led to their ‘trophy molecule’ breakthrough published in Science
in June 2012. And another surprise came in May 2013 when they identified the previously unknown bonding properties within the molecule. The research was published inNature Chemistry
in May 2013.
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The University of Nottingham in Malaysia (UNMC) is holding events throughout 2015 to celebrate 15 years as a pioneer of transnational education. Based in Semenyih, UNMC was established as the UK's first overseas campus in Malaysia and one of the first world-wide.
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