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Exploring the local environment of the engineered nanoclay Mica-4 under hydrothermal conditions using Eu3+ as a luminescent probe

Abstract: High charge mica Na4Al4Si4Mg6O20F4, Mica-4, is a promising candidate as a filling material to immobilize high-level radioactive waste in deep geological repositories due to its extraordinary adsorption capacity. In contrast to traditional clay materials, the structural composition of this mica, with a high content of aluminum in the tetrahedral sheet, enhances its chemical reactivity, favoring the formation of new crystalline phases under mild hydrothermal conditions, and thus providing a definitive isolation of the radionuclides in the engineered barrier. Moreover, this synthetic clay has some features that allow its use as an optical sensor by doping with luminescent rare earth cations such as Eu3+. In this paper we discuss the local structure of the nanoclay Mica-4 using Eu3+ as a local probe to track the physical and chemical modifications under hydrothermal conditions. For that purpose, a set of hydrothermal experiments has been carried out heating Mica-4 and an aqueous Eu(NO3)3 solution in a stainless steel reactor at different temperatures and times. Optical properties of the as-treated samples were characterized by spectroscopic measurements. The fine peak structure of emission and the relative intensity of different Eu3+ transitions as well as the luminescence lifetime have been correlated with the structure and composition of this nanoclay, and the interaction mechanisms between the lanthanide ions and the clay mineral at different temperatures and times. Special attention has been paid to understanding the role of the aluminum content, which may act as either an aggregating or dispersing agent, in the optical features and reactivity of the system.

 Authorship: Martín-Rodríguez R., Aguado F., Alba M.D., Valiente R., Pavón E., Perdigón A.C.,

 Fuente: Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 2022, 921, 166086

 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd

 Publication date: 15/11/2022

 No. of pages: 9

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2022.166086

 ISSN: 0925-8388,1873-4669

 Spanish project: PGC2018-101464-B-100

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