April 19, 2024

Luminescent Sensor Identifies Valuable Rare Earth Element Terbium in Unexpected Locations

By U.S. National Science Foundation
December 13, 2021

Scientists used the sensor to evaluate samples from an acid mine waste treatment facility that had low levels of terbium and included traces of other metals. The sensor performed as well as ICP-MS mass spectrometry, which has long been considered the industry requirement.
A new sensor can discover the existence of a rare earth element called terbium. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
This technological advance will help in the development of a domestic supply chain of terbium and other unusual earth aspects by locating and determining these important products in numerous sources, the scientists stated, including industrial waste and production byproducts like acid mine drainage and coal waste..
The techniques included will also prevent or decrease a few of the environmental issues that arise in some uncommon earth component collection and detection practices. The portability, capability and price to operate in suboptimal ecological conditions will transform how rare earth metals are sustainably determined, sourced and handled, the researchers believe.
Reference: “Probing Lanmodulins Lanthanide Recognition via Sensitized Luminescence Yields a Platform for Quantification of Terbium in Acid Mine Drainage” by Emily R. Featherston, Edward J. Issertell and Joseph A. Cotruvo Jr., 25 August 2021, Journal of the American Chemical Society.DOI: 10.1021/ jacs.1 c06360.

Researchers moneyed by the U.S. National Science Foundation have developed a bright sensor that can detect and measure the existence of an uncommon earth aspect called terbium. The component is used in making gadgets like cars and truck batteries, cell phones, energy efficient lighting and X-ray equipment..
The researchers were effective in finding the component utilizing a protein known for the strength and selectivity of its bond to unusual earth metals– an approach that might be used to draw out terbium from previously excessive environments.