Structural Studies of Uranium and Thorium Complexes with 4,5-Dihydroxy-3,5-benzenesdisulfonate (Tiron) at Low and Neutral pH by X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy

We have determined the structure of uranyl, UO22+, and Th4+ complexes formed in aqueous solution with 4,5-dihydroxy-3,5-benzenedisulfonate (Tiron) as function of pH and concentration. At equimolar concentrations of 0.05 M UO22+ and Tiron, the predominant species was found to be aqueous uranyl at pH = 2.0. At pH = 6.0, the formation of a 3:3 UO22+:Tiron trimer (proposed in earlier studies) was observed. In this structure, bidentate catecholate complexation to Tiron as well as oxygen bridging between uranyl units is detected. Th4+ structural changes were observed both as a function of pH and Th:L (L = Tiron) ratio. At Th:L = 1:1 and pH = 1.4, a monomeric complex is observed with each Th center complexing monodentate to ∼2 sulfonate functional groups. At pH 4.0 similar sulfonate ligation is observed along with oligomer formation. At pH 6.0 thorium hydrolysis products are detected, with little evidence for inner-sphere Tiron coordination. When the Th:L is changed to 1:2 at pH = 6.0, a stable oligomeric complex is formed that dominates the speciation for Th:L ratios up to 1:5. This complex is characterized by bidentate catechol and monodentate sulfonate ligation to Tiron along with oxygen bridging between Th4+ atoms and is consistent with the formation of the 2:3 Th:L polymeric species proposed from earlier work. At a Th:L ratio of 1:10, Th4+ complexation is dominated by bidentate catechol ligation and the formation of a monomeric Th(Tiron)x species, where x ≥ 2.