Separation of samarium and europium by solvent extraction with an undiluted quaternary ammonium ionic liquid: towards high-purity medical samarium-153

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  • KUL - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

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Long-lived europium-154 impurities are formed during the production of medical samarium-153 in a high-flux nuclear reactor. A method to separate these europium impurities from samarium was investigated using the hydrophobic quaternary ammonium ionic liquid Aliquat 336 nitrate. The separation method consists of the selective reduction of Eu3+ by zinc metal in an aqueous feed solution containing a high nitrate salt concentration. Subsequent extraction using undiluted Aliquat 336 nitrate leads to an efficient separation of both lanthanides in a relatively short time frame. Sm3+ was extracted to the neat ionic liquid phase much more efficiently than Eu2+. An initial approach using the addition of dicyclohexano-18-crown-6 to capture Eu2+ in the ionic liquid phase was less efficient.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20077-20086
Number of pages10
JournalRSC Advances
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2018


  • Radiolanthanides, Radiopharmaceutical, Rare Earths, Samarium-153, liquid-liquid extraction, Ionic liquids

ID: 4114503