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Home   /   Post Doctorat   /   Probing the nucleation and growth of colloidal PuO2 nanoparticles in aqueous medium

Probing the nucleation and growth of colloidal PuO2 nanoparticles in aqueous medium

Chemistry Condensed matter physics, chemistry & nanosciences Engineering sciences Instrumentation


A better knowledge about the structural and physico-chemical properties of plutonium dioxide nanoparticles (PuO2) is of interest for the clarification of the environmental fate of this long-lived radioactive element but also for the development of advanced nuclear fuels. Very recent studies have provided essential structural information about the colloidal suspensions resulting from the hydrolysis of Pu(IV) now described as being composed of stabilized crystalline PuO2 nanoparticles, measuring approx. 2 nm in diameter and presenting a structural disorder linked to a surface effect (significant S/V ratio for particles smaller than 10 nm). The complex hydrolysis properties of Pu(IV) can indeed lead to the formation of oligomers which can then condense in the form of extremely stable colloidal suspensions. However, the formation mechanism of these species in the aqueous phase is not clearly identified and recent work suggests that their accumulation results from the interaction of nanometric clusters of Pu (i.e. polynuclear oxohydroxo-Pu complexes).

The main goal of the project is to develop a measurement cell that will enable the triggering of Pu(IV) hydrolysis on a synchrotron beamline (MARS/SOLEIL) and then probe the nucleation and growth stages of the colloidal PuO2 nanoparticles using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS).


Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule (DES)
Laboratoire de Sonochimie en Fluides Complexes
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