A research group from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Osaka University, and the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo succeeded in the world's first molecular-level observation of the structure of radium dissolved as ions in an aqueous solution and the water molecules that exist around it.With the opening of molecular-level research on radium, it is expected that problems in various fields will be solved.
Radium is a radioactive element discovered 124 years ago by the Curies.It is used in radiation cancer therapy and radiometric dating of environmental substances.Recently, the mining of underground resources has increased the chances of their appearance, so there is an urgent need to elucidate their detailed chemical properties.
However, experiments with radium carry the risk of radiation exposure.As such, molecular-level experiments are still not possible, and much of its chemistry is unknown.In particular, since radium is dissolved in water in the body and in the environment, detailed observation of the state of radium dissolved in water is important for clarifying its chemical properties.
Therefore, the research group established an experimental process for safely handling high-concentration radium, and used SPring-8, one of the world's highest-performance synchrotron radiation experimental facilities, to detect radium dissolved in water (Ra2+ hydrated structure). was the first in the world to succeed in molecular-level observation ofFurthermore, simulations using a supercomputer revealed that Ra2+ has a weaker binding force on surrounding water molecules than its congeners, and its hydration structure is more susceptible to change.For this reason, it was found that radium dissolved in water is easily taken up by living bodies and substances in the environment.
This research has established a research method for examining the chemical properties of radium at the molecular level.In the future, based on this method, it is expected to solve important social issues such as elucidation of the mechanism of action of radiation cancer therapeutic drugs, development of new drugs, refinement of radiometric dating, and contribution to environmental problems.
Paper information:[iScience] EXAFS spectroscopy measurements and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations reveal the hydration structure of the radium(II) ion