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Issue 1, 2015
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Ion structure controls ionic liquid near-surface and interfacial nanostructure

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Abstract

A unique, but unifying, feature of ionic liquids (ILs) is that they are nanostructured on the length scale of the ions; in many ILs well-defined polar and apolar domains exist and may percolate through the liquid. Near a surface the isotropic symmetry of the bulk structure is broken, resulting in different nanostructures which, until now, have only been studied indirectly. In this paper, in situ amplitude modulated atomic force microscopy (AM-AFM) has been used to resolve the 3-dimensional nanostructure of five protic ILs at and near the surface of mica. The surface and near surface structures are distinct and remarkably well-defined, but are very different from previously accepted descriptions. Interfacial nanostructure is strongly influenced by the registry between cations and the mica surface charge sites, whereas near surface nanostructure is sensitive to both cation and anion structure. Together these ILs reveal how interfacial nanostructure can be tuned through ion structure, informing “bottom-up” design and optimisation of ILs for diverse technologies including heterogeneous catalysis, lubrication, electrochemical processes, and nanofluids.

Graphical abstract: Ion structure controls ionic liquid near-surface and interfacial nanostructure

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
05 Sep 2014
Accepted
29 Oct 2014
First published
29 Oct 2014

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2015,6, 527-536
Article type
Edge Article

Ion structure controls ionic liquid near-surface and interfacial nanostructure

A. Elbourne, K. Voïtchovsky, G. G. Warr and R. Atkin, Chem. Sci., 2015, 6, 527
DOI: 10.1039/C4SC02727B

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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