Solvation of Actinide Salts in Water Using a Polarizable Continuum Model Academic Article uri icon


  • In order to determine how actinide atoms are dressed when solvated in water, density functional theory calculations have been carried out to study the equilibrium structure of uranium plutonium and thorium salts (UO2(2+), PuO2(2+), Pu(4+), and Th(4+)) both in vacuum as well as in solution represented by a conductor-like polarizable continuum model. This information is of paramount importance for the development of sensitive nanosensors. Both UO2(2+) and PuO2(2+) ions show coordination number of 4-5 with counterions replacing one or two water molecules from the first coordination shell. On the other hand, Pu(4+), has a coordination number of 8 both when completely solvated and also in the presence of chloride and nitrate ions with counterions replacing water molecules in the first shell. Nitrates were found to bind more strongly to Pu(IV) than chloride anions. In the case of the Th(IV) ion, the coordination number was found to be 9 or 10 in the presence of chlorides. Moreover, the Pu(IV) ion shows greater affinity for chlorides than the Th(IV) ion. Adding dispersion and ZPE corrections to the binding energy does not alter the trends in relative stability of several conformers because of error cancelations. All structures and energetics of these complexes are reported.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kumar, N., & Seminario, J. M.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015 11:11 AM