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Lanthanides is in the degree Fahrenheit block matching to the filing of the seven 4f orbitals, severally. The rare earths are all positively charged metals with a singular uniformity of chemical belongingss ; the lone important difference between two rare earths is their size. The lanthanide cations are archetypal difficult acids, adhering preferentially with difficult bases such as O giver ligands. The coordination Numberss of rare earths are between 6 and 12. The chemical science of rare earths is good documented. Rare earths are extensively used in commercial applications, such as metals for aeronautical constituents, lasting and superconducting magnets, accelerators, phosphors, optical masers, batteries, chemicals, ceramics, glass, glazes, etc. In the early yearss of lanthanide chemical science, before ion-exchange chromatography was developed, boring crystallisations were used to divide the elements.


The most attracting characteristic of lanthanide chemical science is the uniformity in the belongingss of the lanthanide ions, because to the little differences in the sizes of their hydrated lanthanide ions. The radii of the ln3+ ions contract steadily from 116pm for La to 98pm for lutecium owing to the well-known ”lanthanide contraction. ” The uniformity in belongingss makes the separation of pure lanthanide elements hard ; common separation techniques is non be applicable for single rare earths of really high pureness. The advantages of high-performance liquid chromatography ( HPLC ) are their ability to supply high, rapid separations and the ability to widen the separations and purifications from laboratory graduated table to big graduated table. This paper will chiefly concentrate on the ways for single separation of rare earths utilizing dynamic ion-exchange chromatographic methods using HPLC.

Complexing Reagent

We can utilize the differences in the stableness invariables of metal ions with a peculiar ligand to accomplish their separation. Lanthanides signifier composites with weak organic acids, such as a-hydroxy isobutyric acid ( ?-HIBA ) , citrate, lactate, tartrate, and a-hydroxy-a-methyl butyric acid, to call a few. Lanthanide ions and HIBA form positive composites with a individual charge which lowers the affinity of the rare earth for the cation-exchange rosin. Reducing the charge of rare earths ( in complex signifier ) causes a decrease in their keeping on the stationary stage. The difference in stableness invariables for the lanthanide-HIBA complex implies that each rare earth will pass more or less clip in the eluent depending on its comparative stableness with HIBA. This difference in the stablenesss of the composites of rare earths can be used to heighten the separation of the rare earths in chromatography. In the presence of the complexing agent, e.g. , ?-HIBA, lutecium is eluted foremost and lanthanum last, because of the formation of composites of low stableness in the instance of La as compared with Lu. Among the assorted organic acids which have been used, ?-HIBA has been shown to be a successful eluent between next rare earths, and so is the most extensively used complexing reagent for separation of rare earths.

The factors which may act upon the stableness of the composite formed would evidently impact the keeping behaviour of rare earths in a cation exchange column. Therefore, keeping of rare earths from a column will diminish when the nomadic stage pH is increased. This consequence occurs until the dissociation of the protonated ligand is complete, beyond which farther addition in pH does non alter keeping times. Analogously

, the alterations in concentration of the nomadic stage incorporating the complexing reagent can besides impact the keeping clip ; Reduction the concentration of complex emmet in the nomadic stage by and large consequences in increasing of keeping clip.

Dynamic Ion-Exchange Methods

The HPLC was used to divide rare earths in the seventiess. The bonded stage ion-exchange columns that were later developed were rather stiff and exhibited good mass transportation belongingss, compared with the PS-DVB cation exchange rosins. Afterwards, dynamic ion-exchange chromatographic techniques utilizing coated columns have been developed for the rapid separation of rare earths and they show several advantages, compared to traditional ion-exchange techniques ; they will be explained in item in the undermentioned subdivisions.

5. Principle of Dynamic Ion-Exchange Chromatography

A C18 column which is a hydrophobic stationary stage, is used with a suited ion-pairing reagent ( IPR ) for metal ion separations. There are some illustrations of ion-pairing reagents used for cation exchange separation include pentanesulfonate, hexanesulfonate, and

octanesulfonate ( Table 1 ) . The SP ( stationary stage ) provides a impersonal surface, which can be modified to organize an ion-exchange support, with both cation every bit good as anion money changers by the usage of some suited qualifiers. The qualifiers can be continuously passed through the column or coated ”permanently ” onto a column, depending on their aqueous solubility. For illustration, when go throughing a solution of a water-soluble qualifier, octanesulfonate ( 10-2 to 10-3 M ) through a C18 support consequences in the formation of a cation exchange surface. This method is by and large referred to as a ”dynamic ion-exchange ” technique. Rare earths can be later separated by exchange with the H ions present in the qualifier, similar to the exchange that takes topographic point in the conventional cation exchange rosins. Use of a suited complexing reagent, e.g. , ?-HIBA, leads to the elution and separation of rare earths. The H2O indissoluble qualifiers, e.g. , dodecylsulfate ( C12H25SO4- ) , are dissolved in methanol-water mixtures and are passed through a C18 column.

Trusting on the concentration of the qualifier, the methyl alcohol content is varied, by and large between 50 and 70 vol. % . A solution of approximately 10-3 to 10-4 M of qualifier is used for modifying the column by go throughing about a litre through the column, to set up an ion-exchange support. The volume required for the equilibration varies with the concentration of the qualifier and the solvent composing. After this measure, a nomadic stage incorporating the complexing reagent is passed for accomplishing the separation. The ion-exchange columns prepared by these methods are by and large referred to as ”permanently ” coated columns in which separation of rare earths occurs through an ion-exchange mechanism.

The undermentioned factors on keeping are observed in the dynamic ion-exchange separation: The concentration of the IPR adsorbed onto the stationary stage is dependent on 1 ) concentration of organic dissolver such as methyl alcohol in the nomadic stage ( higher concentration of methanol consequences in lower concentrations of IPR on the stationary stage ) ; 2 ) its concentration in the nomadic stage ; and 3 ) hydrophobicity of the IPR. However, for a given eluent composing, the concentration of the adsorbed IPR remains changeless. The keeping of rare earths additions with an addition in the concentration of the ion-pairing reagent and keeping of solute lessenings with increasing content of methyl alcohol in the nomadic stage.

Superiorities of Dynamic System

There are two of import characteristics of dynamically modified column ( 1 ) their high column efficiency ( 2 ) easy variable ion-exchange capacity. As consequence of thin bed of qualifier being coated onto the surface of the stationary stage The high column efficiency can take to important decrease in stationary stage mass transportation. The ion-exchange capacity depends on the surface concentration of the sobbed qualifier which can be rapidly changed over a broad scope, by altering the nomadic stage concentration. This characteristic is non available with conventional ion-exchange rosins. The fluctuation of ion-exchange capacity can be efficaciously used to optimise the column efficiency and the selectivity. Another of import advantage of this technique is that the column can be reused for other rearward stage applications after rinsing it with H2O ( in the instance of dynamic ion-exchange ) or with methyl alcohol ( in the instance of ”permanently ” coated columns ) .

7. Mechanism

As the qualifier is adsorbed onto the C18 support, this will make an ion-exchange surface in the dynamic ion-exchange manner. The adsorbed IPR imparts a charge to the stationary stage, doing it to act as an ion money changer. A changeless interchange of IPR occurs between the eluent and stationary stage and the stationary stage can be considered to be a dynamic ion money changer. The sample ions are so exchanged between the stationary stage and the nomadic stage by an ion-exchange procedure. The ion-pair theoretical account leads to the formation of ion-pair composite between analyst ion and qualifier, which is later partitioned between stationary stage and nomadic stage. Retention, hence, consequences chiefly as a effect of interaction taking topographic point in the eluent between solute and IPR and the subsequent divider of the composite to the stationary stage. The grade of keeping of the ion-pair is dependent on its hydrophobicity, which in bend depends on the hydrophobicity of the ion-pairing reagent. An addition in the per centum of methyl alcohol in the eluent by and large decreases the interaction of the ion-pairs with the stationary stage. The ion-interaction theoretical account may be viewed as an intermediate between the dynamic ion-exchange and ion coupling theoretical accounts. It incorporates both the adsorbent effects, which forms the footing of dynamic ion-exchange, and the electrostatic effects, which are the footing of the ion-pair theoretical account. The conventional of ion-pair, dynamic ion-exchange, and ion-interaction theoretical accounts for the keeping of anionic solutes is shown in Fig. 1. Although many of these theoretical accounts define the solute keeping under certain conditions, it is likely that the exact mechanism could be a combination of dynamic ion exchange, ion-pair formation, etc.


Briefly, the HPLC employs columns which contain SP stuffs of little and uniformly sized atoms, asking high operating force per unit areas. These columns provide high efficiency, every bit good as faster and high-resolution separations. Some typical stationary stage and nomadic stage systems used for lanthanide separations are given following.

9. SP ( Stationary Phase )

The perform procedure of dynamic ion-exchange separations take topographic point on a broad scope of stationary stages, which include chemically bonded silicon oxide stuffs and PS-DVB copolymers. C18 supports are the most popular pick. Columns packed with 3 or 5 millimeter atoms are used for analytical scale separation of rare earths.

10. MP ( Mobile Phase )

There are a batch of nomadic stage stuffs. Aliphatic sulfonic acids and their salts ( Table 1 ) are used as water-soluble ion-pairing reagents in dynamic ion-exchange chromatography, e.g. , Na octanesulfonate. The complexing reagent, e.g. , ?-HIBA, is dissolved along with the ion-pairing reagent in HPLC class H2O. The pH of the nomadic stage is by and large adjusted utilizing dilute ammonia/sodium hydrated oxide. The nomadic stage solution is passed through the contrary stage column to set up a dynamic ion-exchange surface, after which samples are introduced into the HPLC system for separation. In the instance of ”permanently ” coated columns, approximately 60 milliliter of the nomadic stage incorporating the complexing reagent is passed through the coated column prior to the debut of sample.

11. Injection of Lanthanide Samples

Normally, lanthanide samples in the signifier of their nitrates are injected into the HPLC system. To fix a standardization, lanthanide samples over the concentration scope of about 1-10 ppm ( injected sum 20 milliliter ) are introduced into the system, though the additive dynamic scope exceeds good beyond this part.

12. Detection

There are a batch of ways observing the rare earths. Post column derivatization has been an extensively used technique for the sensing of rare earths. The rare earth composites are detected at 590, 658, and 520 nanometer, severally. Arsenazo III is by and large employed in the aqueous every bit good as in acetic acid medium. The station column reagents are added to the eluate with a reciprocating pump/peristaltic pump. The rapid and efficient commixture of color-producing reagent with eluent is indispensable and dead volume must be minimized for accomplishing better declaration and sensitiveness. The molar absorption factor of the composite is by and large in the part of 30,000-60,000 L/mol/cm, which permits a sensing bound every bit low as 10-20 nanogram for assorted rare earths.

13. Separation of rare earths utilizing dynamic ion-exchange HPLC

Nowadays a rapid and high-resolution separation of mixtures of lanthanide ions utilizing Na octanesulfonate as the ion-pairing reagent and ?-HIBA as the complexing reagent was reported. A 15 centimeter contrary stage column was employed with Na octanesulfonate ( 0.01 M ) and ?-HIBA ( 0.05-0.4 M ) ; the pH of the nomadic stage was kept at 4.6. Complete separation of rare earths was obtained before 9 min ( Fig. 1 ) .

Fig1. Gradient separation of the rare earths. Supelco LC18 column ; additive plan at pH 4.6 from 0.05 mol/L a-HIBA to 0.4 mol/L a-HIBA over 10 min at 2.0 ml/min ; modifier, 1-octanesulfonate at 1 X10-2 mol/L ; sensing at 653 nanometers after postcolumn reaction with Arsenazo III ; sample 5 milliliter of a solution incorporating about 10 mg/ml of each rare earth.

The rare earths could be eluted with crisp symmetrical extremums, reflecting the rapid mass transportation features with high column efficiencies, i.e. , HETP of about 0.02-0.03 millimeter. An mean sensing bound of about 2.5 nanogram was obtained for rare earths in this survey. A dynamic ion-exchange technique utilizing sodium octanesulfonate-?-HIBA has besides been employed for the single separation from a mixture incorporating the rare earths Y, U, and Th. It was besides

Fig. 2 Separation of rare earths utilizing gradient elution. Experimental conditions: column, change by reversal stage C18 ;

nomadic stage, camphor-10-sulfonic acid ( 0.05 M ) ; a- HIBA varied from 0.07 to 0.3 M, pH 3.8 ; flow rate:2 ml/min. Postcolumn reagent: Arsenazo III ( 1.8X 10-4 M ) ; flow rate: 1.5 ml/min ; sensing:655 nanometer.

demonstrated that the peak places of Th ( IV ) and U ( VI ) in the lanthanide elution chromatogram could be optimized by appropriate accommodations in the concentration of octanesulfonate, methyl alcohol, and eluent pH. In another survey, the public presentation of ?-hydroxycarboxylic acids, such as ?-HIBA, ?-hydroxy-?-methylbutyric acid, and lactic acid were compared for the separation of rare earths utilizing octanesulfonate as the ion-pairing reagent. It is besides understood that a longer alkyl group in the hydroxycarboxylic acids improves the declaration, peculiarly for the lighter rare earths. In another survey, mandelic acid was employed alternatively of ?-HIBA, with octanesulfonate as the ion-pairing reagent for the separation. Using a mandelic acid gradient, all 14 rare earths were separated. The Th ( IV ) and U ( VI ) were good separated from rare earths. The separation of rare earths obtained, nevertheless, is inferior to that obtained with ?-HIBA. This is perchance because of the fact that, with ?-HIBA, the rare earths are retained chiefly through an ion-exchange mechanism ; nevertheless, with mandelic acid, rare earths may be retained through a hydrophobic interaction mechanism in add-on to an ion-exchange mechanism. A rapid separation process for the isolation of single rare earths utilizing camphor-10-sulfonic acid ( CSA ) as the ion-pairing reagent has besides been developed. A binary gradient with a nomadic stage composing of 0.05 M CSA and 0.07-0.3 M ?-HIBA ( pH 3.8 ) was employed and the rare earths could be separated in approximately 8 min ( Fig. 2 ) . Excellent extremum profiles with baseline declaration for single rare earths have been achieved with this method

14. Using lastingly coated columns to divide rare earths

Nowadays there is a separation of rare earths on a rearward stage column modified with eicosylsulfate was reported, with ?-HIBA ( 0.025-0.25 M, pH 3.8 ) as the nomadic stage. The rare earths could be eluted within about 32 min with this method ( Fig. 3 ) . In another survey, a column coated with Di- ( 2-ethylhexyl ) -phosphoric acid ( HDEHP ) was employed for the single separation of rare earths. A binary gradient in concentration of ?-HIBA ( 0.07-0.3 M, pH 3.5 ) was employed in that survey for the separation ( Fig. 4 ) .

Fig. 3 Separation of rare earths by HPLC. Experimental conditions: reversed stage column, 4.6 X150 mm 5 mm Supelcosil LC-18 coated with 2.5 Ten 10-4 M C20SO4 – in 25 % acetonitrile-water ; eluent, 0.025 M a-HIBA ( pH 3.8 ) for 9 min followed by additive gradient from 0.025 to 0.25 M a-HIBA ( pH 3.8 ) over 20 min ; sensing, 658 nanometer after postcolumn reaction with Arsenazo III.

Fig. 4 Separation of rare earths utilizing HDEHP coated column. Experimental conditions: contrary stage C18 column coated with HDEHP ( 0.27 millimeter ) ; nomadic stage, a-HIBA varied from 0.07 to 0.3 M ; pH 3.5 ; flow rate, 1.5 ml/min ; postcolumn reagent, Arsenazo III ; flow rate, 2 ml/min ; sensing, 655 nanometer ; lanthanide, 5 mg/ml, 100 milliliter injected.

The separation of the full rare earth series was completed in approximately 20 min. It was reported that these coated columns are rather stable and can be employed for longer periods.


Many documents on lanthanide analysis indicate the importance of the demand for the development of new and better techniques of separation. Nowadays more and more HPLC techniques have been developed for the separation of single rare earths utilizing ion- exchange, dynamic, etc. The choice of gradient elution has been normally known as a cardinal factor for rapid and high-resolution separations.?-HIBA is being used as one of the most efficient complexing agent.

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