The Centre for Radiochemistry Research (CRR) at The University of Manchester is a UK centre of excellence providing a national focus for innovative, high-impact radiochemistry research. It is a key link between academia and the nuclear sector, with activities ranging from blue skies investigations to industry-ready development work.

Our research

We are home to many different research groups, conducting a broad spectrum of world leading activities using state of the art technologies.

The CRR team

Led by co-Directors Professor Steve Liddle and Professor Nik Kaltsoyannis, we host academics from across The University of Manchester, as well as dedicated administrative and technical staff.

Partners

The CRR has an extensive network of partnerships and collaborations, both within the University of Manchester, and externally.

Training

The CRR hosts a large number of researchers at different stages of their careers, ranging from senior postdoctoral fellows to undergraduate project students. These researchers benefit daily from the use of a wide range of facilities, gaining state-of-the-art education and training.

Updates

Louise Natrajan has co-authored a paper entitled “Exploring the Coordination of Plutonium and Mixed Plutonyl–Uranyl Complexes of Imidodiphosphinates”, in collaboration with the CEA, Marcoule, France and funded by the FP7-EURATOM network TALISMAN (under JRP no. TALI_C05-04). Inorg. Chem., Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.9b00346. In this work, the coordination chemistry of plutonium(IV) and plutonium(VI) with the complexing agents tetraphenyl and tetra-isopropyl imidodiphosphinate (TPIP− and TIPIP−) is reported. The resultant complexes have been characterized using a combination of X-ray structural studies, NMR, optical, and vibrational spectroscopies, and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. The influence of the R-group (R = phenyl or iPr) on the nature of the complex is discussed with the help of DFT studies.

A collaboration between the CRR co-directors has result in a paper in Nature Communications 10 (2019) 634 entitled “Emergence of the structure-directing role of f-orbital overlap-driven covalency”. A longstanding bonding model in actinide chemistry is “FEUDAL” (f’s essentially unaffected, d’s accommodate ligands) which holds that the actinide elements form chemical bonds primarily using their 6d orbitals, with the 5f orbitals remaining mainly non-bonding. In work featured in the Editor’s Highlights webpage, Steve Liddle and Nik Kaltsoyannis show that short actinide–oxygen covalent bonds can contain substantial 5f orbital contributions and, remarkably, that this 5f character dictates the molecular geometry, overcoming competing ionic bonding drivers. This remarkable result clearly demonstrates a breakdown of the FEUDAL model, providing evidence of a structure-directing role for the 5f orbitals.

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