Uranyl complexes with phenylalanine and the analogous ligand phenylpropionate were investigated in aqueous solution by attenuated total reflection (ATR) Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. The assignment of the observed bands to vibrational modes was accomplished using spectra of the pure ligands recorded at different pH values and spectra of the <sup>15</sup>N labeled analogous compounds of the amino acid. The results presented in this work provide a detailed description of the binding states of the uranyl complexes in solution. A bidentate binding of the carboxylate group to the actinide ion was observed by the characteristic shifts of the carboxylate modes. From the spectra the presence of the protonated amino group in the actinide complex can be derived. Due to these findings, contributions of the amino group to the binding to the uranyl ion in the amino acid complex can be ruled out.
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