Uranyl Peroxide Cage Cluster Solubility in Water and the Role of the Electrical Double Layer

Kathryn M. Peruski, Varinia Bernales, Mateusz Dembowski, Haylie L. Lobeck, Kristi L. Pellegrini, Ginger E. Sigmon, Sarah Hickam, Christine M. Wallace, Jennifer E S Szymanowski, Enrica Balboni, Laura Gagliardi, Peter C. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Uranium concentrations as high as 2.94 × 105 parts per million (1.82 mol of U/1 kg of H2O) occur in water containing nanoscale uranyl cage clusters. The anionic cage clusters, with diameters of 1.5-2.5 nm, are charge-balanced by encapsulated cations, as well as cations within their electrical double layer in solution. The concentration of uranium in these systems is impacted by the countercations (K, Li, Na), and molecular dynamics simulations have predicted their distributions in selected cases. Formation of uranyl cages prevents hydrolysis reactions that would result in formation of insoluble uranyl solids under alkaline conditions, and these spherical clusters reach concentrations that require close packing in solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1333-1339
Number of pages7
JournalInorganic chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 6 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is funded by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the Materials Science of Actinides Energy Frontier Research Center (DESC0001089).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


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