Metal extraction

Ligand design and synthesis, metal ion separation, solvent extraction and metal ion transport


Research Fields

Supramolecular chemistry, coordination chemistry, inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry, analytical chemistry

Research Highlights

  • Highly selective extractants for Cu(II)
  • Ligands for Pd(II) and Pt(IV) separation
  • Synergistic selective extraction for Ni(II)

Research Summary

The primary focus of our group is to design, synthesize and characterize new ligands (extractants) for the separation of metal ions. Separation techniques used are solvent extraction, metal ion transport and synergistic solvent extraction (SSX). SSX has shown some good success for the separation of Ni(II) using pyridine based imidazole and pyrazole ligands. Crystal structures are used to shed light on the synergistic mode of action as well as the most likely metal ion complexation to the ligand. ICP is used for the determination of metal ion concentrations throughout.


Applications of Research

  • Removal of toxic metal ions from potable water
  • Separation of a base metal ion from other base metal ions
  • Separation of precious metal ions from each other

Robbie Luckay

Senior Lecturer
+27 21 808 3333