Nanostructure domains, voids, and low-frequency spectra in binary mixtures of N,N-dimethylacetamide and ionic liquids with varying cationic size†
Classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were carried out on binary mixtures of N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMA) with hydroxide based ammonium ionic liquids (ILs), tetraethylammonium hydroxide (TEAH), tetrapropylammonium hydroxide (TPAH), tetrabutylammonium hydroxide (TBAH), at three different mole fractions of IL (XIL). The solvation of DMA molecules by ions of ILs was studied by the combined distribution function (CDF). CDFs show that anions have strong correlations with the DMA due to the hydrogen bonding. Increasing the DMA disrupts the nanosegregated domains and causes changes in correlations of cation–DMA and anion–DMA. Also, increased translational motion of ions, as well as the fluidity of IL and a significant improvement in self-diffusion coefficients, are observed with the presence of more DMA. The structural microheterogeneity was investigated using the Voronoi tessellation method. Domain analysis confirms the formation of discreet domains by anions at all the mole fractions. The results also complement the experimental observations, which suggest that two types of aggregations are possible in given mixtures: below and above 0.5 XIL. When the alkyl chain length on the cation increases, a notable decrease in ion translational motion was observed in the IL rich region. In the concentrated IL mixture, the self-diffusion coefficient of the cation is higher than that of the corresponding anion; further addition of IL (XIL < 0.5) results in weaker interactions between DMA and anion when compared to DMA–cation. The mean collision time of each species is found to have an inverse relation with XIL. The analysis of the vibrational density of states provides the low-frequency spectral feature of the mixtures.