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Actinides in Solution: Nuclear Waste, Strong Correlations, and Emergence

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Date and time Apr 05, 2007
from 04:10 PM to 05:00 PM
Location McLennan Physics (MP) 102
Host Arun Paramekanti

Brad Marston

Plutonium in solution exhibits multiple oxidation states with a near-perfect degeneracy in the reduction-oxidation potentials. As a result up to four different oxidation states can coexist simultaneously in the same solution. This degeneracy has both theoretical and practical consequences. On the theoretical side, I will discuss how this degeneracy likely manifests a higher-level organizing principle at work, namely an emergent "negative-U" attractive interaction.  This idea is tested by combining first-principles relativistic density-functional calculations with Hubbard models of the strong correlations between the actinide 5f electrons.  On the applied side, I will discuss  how this degeneracy greatly complicates the environmental chemistry of plutonium in ground water, which bears on the problem of nuclear waste disposal at locations such as Yucca Mountain.

Marston test tubes 2

Multimedia

MP3 recording of talk
PDF presentation file
PPT presentation file (with voice synchronization)

Contact Name Arun Paramekanti
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