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Talanta. 2012 Feb 15;90:132-7. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2011.12.069. Epub 2012 Jan 2.

Solvent extraction of rare-earth ions based on functionalized ionic liquids.

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Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6201, USA.


Three functionalized ionic liquids (ILs), tetrabutylammonium di(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate ([TBA][DEHP]), trioctylmethylammonium di(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate ([TOMA][DEHP]), and trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium di(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate ([THTP][DEHP]), are synthesized and characterized. These ILs are used as DEHP-based ionic extractants and are investigated for rare earth elements (REEs) separation in 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide ([C(6)mim][NTf(2)]) and diisopropylbenzene (DIPB) along with di(2-ethylhexyl)phosphoric acid (HDEHP). Solubilities of the DEHP-based ionic extractants in [C(6)mim][NTf(2)] are much better than that of HDEHP in [C(6)mim][NTf(2)]. We herein report the achievement of enhanced extractabilities and selectivities for separation of REEs using DEHP-based ionic extractants in [C(6)mim][NTf(2)]. This work highlights the potential of developing a comprehensive ionic liquid-based extraction strategy for REEs using ionic liquids as both extractant and diluent.

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