Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Hans-Conrad zur Loye


The steady accumulation of nuclear waste over many decades has yielded a staggering amount of waste that we must contend with, and with the amount of available space in interim storage facilities diminishing, it has become increasingly more urgent to find viable solutions to nuclear waste storage. The vitrification process has been widely adopted for immobilization of high-level waste; however, the process is inadequate for more complex waste streams and the produced glasses exhibit limited loading capacities. To address this, considerable research efforts have been devoted to the development of new materials as prospective waste forms. Crystalline materials are promising candidates for these applications. Exploratory crystal growth is an effective approach for the preparation of novel phases. As a result of the exceptionally diverse arrangements possible for structural units such as borate and silicate, among others, many new phases exhibiting desirable structure types are attainable. This approach also presents an opportunity to study the fundamental properties of new actinide-containing materials, thus elucidating structure-property relationships arising from the underlying chemistry. Therefore, this dissertation will focus on adapting traditional crystal growth techniques for use with actinides and on the preparation and characterization of waste form-relevant phases, which will yield insight on both actinide crystal chemistry and their unique structure-property relationships.