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The separation of Uranium from Plutonium



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Chemists at the University of Virginia have prepared the first uranium methylidyne molecule ever reported, despite the reactivity of uranium atoms with other molecules. This new molecule is a hydrocarbon containing a uranium-carbon triple-bond.
Their finding, which contributes to chemists fundamental understanding of uranium chemistry, is reported in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This is the first example of a triple bond between uranium and carbon in a hydrocarbon - Lester Andrews, the lead scientist and a professor of chemistry at the University of Virginia.

Andrews and members of his U.Va. laboratory have been working on uranium chemistry for 15 years with dozens of different molecules. For this finding they used a focused pulsed laser to evaporate depleted uranium in a vacuum chamber and reacted the vapour with fluoroform molecules, then trapped the new molecule in argon frozen at 8 K, near the absolute zero of temperature.

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