Ionic-liquid materials for the electrochemical challenges of the future

Nat Mater. 2009 Aug;8(8):621-9. doi: 10.1038/nmat2448. Epub 2009 Jul 24.


Ionic liquids are room-temperature molten salts, composed mostly of organic ions that may undergo almost unlimited structural variations. This review covers the newest aspects of ionic liquids in applications where their ion conductivity is exploited; as electrochemical solvents for metal/semiconductor electrodeposition, and as batteries and fuel cells where conventional media, organic solvents (in batteries) or water (in polymer-electrolyte-membrane fuel cells), fail. Biology and biomimetic processes in ionic liquids are also discussed. In these decidedly different materials, some enzymes show activity that is not exhibited in more traditional systems, creating huge potential for bioinspired catalysis and biofuel cells. Our goal in this review is to survey the recent key developments and issues within ionic-liquid research in these areas. As well as informing materials scientists, we hope to generate interest in the wider community and encourage others to make use of ionic liquids in tackling scientific challenges.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Electrochemistry / trends
  • Energy-Generating Resources
  • Ionic Liquids / chemistry*
  • Lithium / chemistry
  • Manufactured Materials
  • Solubility


  • Ionic Liquids
  • Lithium