Cage with Caps: selective confinement of rare-earth-metal hydrates into host molecules

Rare-earth metals are indispensable for many technological products, from smartphones, laptops, batteries, electromotors, and wind turbines to catalysts.

In Angevente Chemie magazine, a Japanese team has now introduced a molecular "cage" with "caps" 

Rare-earth elements include 17 metals: scandium, yttrium, lanthanum and lanthanides

They are everywhere in the environment but are highly dispersed and bound in minerals

Rare-earth-metal ions are also found in water bodies and waste.

However, it is difficult to separate them separately from aqueous solution. Because they are usually hydrated, which means they are bound to water molecules.

A team led by Makoto Fujita at the University of Tokyo and the Institute

 of Molecular Sciences has now managed to "limit" hydrated forms of trivalent ions of a range of rare-earth metals in closed "cages".

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