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Probing the Local Coordination of Hexavalent Uranium and the Splitting of 5f Orbitals Induced by Chemical Bonding

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journal contribution
posted on 22.10.2021, 19:39 by Lucia Amidani, Marius Retegan, Anna Volkova, Karin Popa, Philippe M. Martin, Kristina O. Kvashnina
We report here a detailed experimental and theoretical investigation of hexavalent uranium in various local configurations with a high-energy-resolution fluorescence-detected X-ray absorption near-edge structure at the U M4 edge. We show the pronounced sensitivity of the technique to the arrangement of atoms around the absorber and provide a detailed theoretical interpretation revealing the nature of spectral features. Calculations based on density functional theory and on crystal field multiplet theory indicate that for all local configurations analyzed, the main peak corresponds to nonbonding 5f orbitals, and the highest energy peak corresponds to antibonding 5f orbitals. Our findings agree with the accepted interpretation of uranyl spectral features and embed the latter in a broader field of view, which interprets the spectra of a large variety of U6+-containing samples on a common theoretical ground.