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Rapid Self-Assembly of Uranyl Polyhedra into Crown Clusters

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posted on 22.06.2011 by Ginger E. Sigmon, Peter C. Burns
Clusters built from 32 uranyl peroxide polyhedra self-assemble and crystallize within 15 min after combining uranyl nitrate, ammonium hydroxide, and hydrogen peroxide in aqueous solution under ambient conditions. These novel crown-shaped clusters are remarkable in that they form so quickly, have extraordinarily low aqueous solubility, form with at least two distinct peroxide to hydroxyl ratios, and form in very high yield. The clusters, which have outer diameters of 23 Å, topologically consist of eight pentagons and four hexagons. Their rapid formation and low solubility in aqueous systems may be useful properties at various stages in an advanced nuclear energy system.