Faculty Advisor

Emmert, Marion H


Rare earth elements (REEs) are used in a variety of applications such as solid state lasers, magnets, MRI contrast agents, and electric motors. The U.S. currently imports its REEs from foreign countries which puts our REE supply chain at risk. One way for the U.S. to achieve REE independence is through recycling. However, there is much difficulty in separating REEs after recycling due to their similar chemical and physical properties. We investigated liquid-liquid extraction as a method of REE separation. Computational analysis was used to predict possible ligands which could selectively bind individual REEs. The synthesis and optimization of our liquid-liquid extraction method will be discussed. Furthermore, mass spectroscopy was used to study the coordination of the ligand with REEs.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2016



Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

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