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A Zinc Metal–Organic Framework for Concurrent Adsorption and Detection of Uranium

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journal contribution
posted on 26.06.2020, 13:14 by Xudong Qin, Weiting Yang, Yonghang Yang, Dongxu Gu, Dongyu Guo, Qinhe Pan
Uranium is one of the principal raw materials in the nuclear industry, but if released into the natural environment, it also poses latent health risks to mankind. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop a strategy that can concurrently detect and adsorb uranium to realize the sustainable development of nuclear power and protect the environment. In this work, a fluorescent zinc-based metal–organic framework (HNU-50) was designed and synthesized for the effective detection and extraction of U­(VI). The amide groups on N-pyridin-4-ylpyridine-4-carboxamide ligands and two uncoordinated carboxyl oxygen atoms on pyromellitic acid ligands in HNU-50 provide potential uranium-binding sites. Consequently, HNU-50 is competent of selectively and efficiently catching uranyl ions, achieving an optimum adsorption capacity of 632 mg/g. Additionally, the adsorption of U­(VI) results in fluorescence quenching of HNU-50, thus allowing sensitive and selective detection of U­(VI) by fluorescence change. Note that HNU-50 exhibits a considerably low detection limit of 1.2 × 10–8 M for U­(VI) in aqueous solution, which is below the World Health Organization maximum pollution standards for potable water (6.3 × 10–8 M).