Methods of separating actinides from lanthanides are disclosed. A regio-specific/stereo-specific dithiophosphinic acid having organic moieties is provided in an organic solvent that is then contacted with an acidic medium containing an actinide and a lanthanide. The method can extend to separating actinides from one another. Actinides are extracted as a complex with the dithiophosphinic acid. Separation compositions include an aqueous phase, an organic phase, dithiophosphinic acid, and at least one actinide. The compositions may include additional actinides and/or lanthanides. A method of producing a dithiophosphinic acid comprising at least two organic moieties selected from aromatics and alkyls, each moiety having at least one functional group is also disclosed. A source of sulfur is reacted with a halophosphine. An ammonium salt of the dithiophosphinic acid product is precipitated out of the reaction mixture. The precipitated salt is dissolved in ether. The ether is removed to yield the dithiophosphinic acid.