Molecular dynamics simulation of geminal dicationic ionic liquids [Cn(mim)2][NTf2]2 – structural and dynamical properties†
In this work, the structural and dynamical properties of two imidazolium-based geminal dicationic ionic liquids (GDILs), i.e. [Cn(mim)2][NTf2]2 with n = 3 and 5, have been studied to obtain a fundamental understanding of the molecular basis of the macroscopic and microscopic properties of the bulk liquid phase. To achieve this purpose, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, density functional theory (DFT) and atoms in molecule (AIM) methods were used. Interaction energies, charge transfers and hydrogen bonds between the cation and anions of each studied GDIL were investigated by DFT calculations and also AIM. The mean square displacement (MSD), self-diffusion coefficient, and transference number of the cation and anions, and also the density, viscosity and electrical conductivity of the studied GDILs, were computed at 333.15 K and at 1 atm. The simulated values were in good agreement with the experimental data. The effect of linkage alkyl chain length on the thermodynamic, transport and structural properties of these GDILs has been investigated. The structural features of these GDILs were characterized by calculating the partial site–site radial distribution functions (RDFs) and spatial distribution functions (SDFs). The heterogeneity order parameter (HOP) has been used to describe the spatial structures of these GDILs and the distribution of the angles formed between two cation heads and the middle carbon atom of the linkage alkyl chain was analyzed in these ILs. To investigate the temporal heterogeneity of the studied GDILs, the deviation of the self-part of the van Hove correlation function, Gs(,t), from the Gaussian distribution of particle displacement and also the second-order non-Gaussian parameter, α2(t), were used. Since, the transport and interfacial properties and ionic characteristics of these GDILs were studied experimentally in our previous studies as a function of linkage chain length and temperature, in this work, we try to give a better perspective of the structure and dynamics of these systems at a molecular level.