June 26, 2024
Staff Accomplishment

Corbey Selected as Guest Editor for Special Issue of Inorganic Chemistry

The continual expansion of f-element inorganic chemistry

Jordan Corbey, wearing safety eyewear, standing near laboratory equipment

Jordan Corbey 

(Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Jordan Corbey is a staff scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), supporting the National Security Directorate. Corbey joined PNNL in 2015 and applies her knowledge to nuclear material processing research. Recently, she was selected as a guest editor for a special issue titled “Ligand-Metal Complementarity in Rare Earth and Actinide Chemistry,” in the well-known journal Inorganic Chemistry.

This opportunity allowed Corbey to honor her previous advisor’s work and reconnect with the fundamental chemistry community she worked closely with before joining PNNL.

“I love that the work I do now in national security is application based, but it was heartwarming for me to get back to my fundamental chemistry roots with this community and highlight the essential rare-earth chemistry my previous advisor dedicated his career to,” said Corbey.

Currently, Corbey leads a collection of projects aimed at deepening technical knowledge of nuclear fuel reprocessing and actinide material production to support national security objectives, while effectively overseeing diverse teams of experimentalists and computational scientists in pursuit of this mission.

F-elements, known as lanthanides and actinides, are elements with f electrons found at the bottom of the periodic table. Lanthanides play a major role in superconductors and lasers and are vital to smart phone technology. Actinides, such as uranium, neptunium, and plutonium, are radioactive and central to nuclear material research for national energy and security missions.

Corbey’s PhD in inorganic chemistry specialized in fundamental coordination chemistry of air-sensitive f-element compounds. Before starting out as a postdoc at PNNL, she did not have plans to work in the national security space but quickly realized her skillset aligned with the research being conducted.

“This opportunity to serve as a guest editor recognizes the continually growing impact of f-element inorganic chemists at PNNL, particularly those working at the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory (RPL), toward international technical contributions in fundamental rare-earth and actinide chemistry,” said Corbey.

RPL is a key part of PNNL’s national security mission. RPL staff work with a variety of radioactive materials to technically advance the nation’s capabilities in nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear forensics, and nuclear stockpile stewardship.

Through this guest editorial process, Corbey was able to reflect on past and current efforts of her and her coworkers to strengthen these research areas at PNNL. With RPL currently undergoing major renovations that will expand project scope and capabilities, Corbey is excited to welcome the next generation of inorganic chemists interested in bridging the gap toward nuclear material research.

“I was honored to be a part of this special issue, and my hope is to continue to strengthen collaborations with university institutions and other national laboratories to enhance our critical networks and create new opportunities for early career scientists,” said Corbey.