Layering of ionic liquids on rough surfaces†
Understanding the behavior of ionic liquids (ILs) either confined between rough surfaces or in rough nanoscale pores is of great relevance to extend studies performed on ideally flat surfaces to real applications. In this work we have performed an extensive investigation of the structural forces between two surfaces with well-defined roughness (<9 nm RMS) in 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide by atomic force microscopy. Statistical studies of the measured layer thicknesses, layering force, and layering frequency reveal the ordered structure of the rough IL–solid interface. Our work shows that the equilibrium structure of the interfacial IL strongly depends on the topography of the contact.