Capturing the effect of [PF3(C2F5)3]−vs. [PF6]−, flexible anion vs. rigid, and scaled charge vs. unit on the transport properties of [bmim]+-based ionic liquids: a comparative MD study†
Comprehensive molecular dynamics simulations are performed to study the average single-particle dynamics and the transport properties of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate, [bmim][PF6], and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tris(pentafluoroethyl)trifluorophosphate, [bmim][FAP], ionic liquids (ILs) at 400 K. We applied one of the most widely used nonpolarizable all-atom force fields for ILs, both with the original unit (±1) charges on each ion and with the partial charges uniformly scaled to 80–85%, taking into account the average polarizability and tracing the experimentally compatible transport properties. In all simulations, [bmim]+ was considered to be flexible, while the effect of a flexible vs. rigid structure of the anions and the effect of two applied charge sets on the calculated properties were separately investigated in detail. The simulation results showed that replacing [PF6]− with [FAP]−, considering anion flexibility, and applying the charge-scaled model significantly enhanced the ionic self-diffusion, ionic conductivity, inverse viscosity, and hyper anion preference (HAP). Both of the calculated self-diffusion coefficients from the long-time linear slope of the mean-square displacement (MSD) and from the integration of the velocity autocorrelation function (VACF) for the centers of mass of the ions were used for evaluation of the ionic transference number, HAP, ideal Nernst–Einstein ionic conductivity (σNE), and the Stokes–Einstein viscosity. In addition, for quantification of the degree of complicated ionic association (known as the Nernst–Einstein deviation parameter, Δ) and ionicity phenomena in the two studied ILs, the ionic conductivity was determined more rigorously by the Green–Kubo integral of the electric-current autocorrelation function (ECACF), and then the σGK/σNE ratio was evaluated. It was found that the correlated motion of the (cation⋯anion) neighbors in [bmim][FAP] is smaller than in [bmim][PF6]. The relaxation times of the normalized reorientational autocorrelation functions were computed to gain a deep, molecular-level insight into the rotational motion of the ions. The geometric shape of the ion is a key factor in determining its reorientational dynamics. [bmim]+ shows faster translational and slower rotational dynamics in contrast to [PF6]−.