RDCH 710/711: Actinide Chemistry


RDCH 710/711 Actinide Chemistry

Instructor: Professor Ken Czerwinski
Office: HRC 245 E-Mail: czerwin2@unlv.nevada.edu, phone 5-0501
Monday, Wednesday 0845-1000, 1st floor conference room HRC
Spring 2018


Homework (15 % assigned at the end of each topic)

Exam (35 % each) (Based on questions highlighted in lectures)

Participation (15 %)  



Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

The Chemistry of the Actinide and Transactinide Element, Editors, Morss, L.R., Edelstein, N.M., and Fuger, J., 3rd edition, Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 2006

Table of Contents


note:  The website springerlink.com is used for links to book chapters and articles on the actinides.  It operates when the page is searched from UNLV


The unique chemical properties of actinide elements are described and related to their electronic characteristics. Using nuclear properties in understanding actinide chemistry is provided. Presentations are given on exploiting the chemical behavior of the actinides in separation, the nuclear fuel cycle, environmental behavior, and materials. The goal of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the actinide elements for support in graduate education and research.


 The course is divided into two semesters.  The begins with a basic introduction to the actinide elements then progresses to lectures on each individual actinide element.  The 1st semester (RDCH 710) covers the introduction of the actinide elements to the chemistry and physics of neptunium.  The second semester (RDCH 711) starts with plutonium chemistry, introducing f-electron behavior through the discussion of plutonium metal properties. RDCH 711 continues with plutonium compound synthesis, and completes with lawrencium chemistry.

The cumulative outcomes for the two semesters are:

Understand the role of oxidation-reduction reactions in actinides
Evaluation and utilizing actinide speciation and complexation
Understanding the impact of f-orbitals on actinide chemistry
Ability to interpret spectroscopy of the actinides
Ability to discuss in detail the chemistry of various actinide elements
Explain how to use actinide nuclear properties in experiments
Understand the fundamental reactions that drive actinide environmental chemistry
Understand and explain various separation methods for the actinides
Describe and understand a range of actinide solid phases
Understand the reactions behind synthesis of actinide compounds
Basic understanding of computational actinide studies

The examinations are oral and based upon subject matter presented in class. The first oral exam will be based on covered course material. The final oral exam will be a student presentation on recent actinide chemistry literature with questions based on material presented in class and designed to cover the course outcomes. Each oral exam will be 30 minutes.

Homework will be periodically assigned and the questions will relate to the course material and the course outcomes. The homework assignments will be design to result in tools and knowledge useful for research.


last update:  Sunday, 22 April, 2018