Solvent nanostructure, the solvophobic effect and amphiphile self-assembly in ionic liquids
The ability of ionic liquids (ILs) to support amphiphile self-assembly into a range of mesophase structures has been established as a widespread phenomenon. From the ILs evaluated as self-assembly media, the vast majority have supported some lyotropic liquid crystal phase formation. Many neat ionic liquids have been shown to segregate into polar and non-polar domains to form a nanostructured liquid. A very strong correlation between the nanostructure of the ionic liquid and its characteristics as an amphiphile self-assembly solvent has been found. In this review we discuss ionic liquids as amphiphile self-assembly media, and identify trends that can be used to distinguish which ionic liquids are likely to have good promotion properties as self-assembly media. In particular these trends focus on the nanostructure of neat ionic liquids, their solvent cohesive energy density, and the related solvophobic effect. We forecast that many more ILs will be identified as amphiphile self-assembly solvents in the future.