Ultrafast solvation dynamics and charge transfer reactions in room temperature ionic liquids
Room temperature ionic liquids (ILs) are a new type of solvent with peculiar properties. ILs are usually composed of an anion and a bulky cation with one or more alkyl chains to decrease the melting point. These structural peculiarities lead to the high viscosity and the heterogeneity of ILs, which could affect chemical reactions. In the present perspective, we will first introduce the experimentally observed nature of the heterogeneous liquid structure and then introduce recent developments in the study on electron transfer (ET) and charge transfer (CT) reactions in relation with the solvation and the heterogeneity of ILs. Because of the high viscosity of ILs, diffusive solvation is expected to be slow which could be the rate-limiting factor for ET and CT processes. However, ILs could provide a unique reaction field depending on the location of the solute within the heterogeneous liquid structure and the reaction could be faster than that expected from the bulk viscosity due to the fast fluctuation of the local environment.