Analytical Sciences

Abstract − Analytical Sciences, 37(1), 119 (2021).

Recent Progress in Ionic Liquid Extraction for the Separation of Rare Earth Elements
Hiroyuki OKAMURA* and Naoki HIRAYAMA**
*Advanced Science Research Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Tokai, Ibaraki 319-1195, Japan
**Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Toho University, 2-2-1 Miyama, Funabashi 274-8510, Japan
This review summarizes recent progress in solvent extraction of rare earth elements (REEs) using an ionic liquid (IL) as the extraction solvent. These IL extraction systems are advantageous owing to the affinity of ILs for both charged and neutral hydrophobic species, in contrast to conventional organic solvent extraction systems. Herein, REE extraction studies using ILs are detailed and classified based on the type of extraction system, namely extraction using anionic ligands, extraction using neutral ligands, synergistic extraction, extraction without extractants, and a specific system using task-specific ionic liquids (TSILs). In IL extraction systems, the extracted complexes are often different from those in organic solvent systems, and the REE extraction and separation efficiencies are often significantly enhanced. Synergistic IL extraction is an effective approach to improving the extractability and separability of REEs. The development of novel TSILs suitable for IL extraction systems is also effective for REE separation.