Octyl(phenyl)-N,N-diisobutylcarbamoylmethyl phosphine oxide (CMPO) dissolved in an ionic liquids, 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium hexafluorophosphate, greatly enhances extractability and selectivity of lanthanide cations compared to that dissolved in conventional organic solvents; further, the recovery of lanthanides extracted into ionic liquids can be accomplished using several stripping solutions containing complexing agents. The possibility of utilizing ionic liquids as novel separation media in an industrial liquid-liquid extraction process was demonstrated.
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