[emim][etSO4] as the polar phase in low-temperature-stable microemulsions

Langmuir. 2011 Mar 1;27(5):1635-42. doi: 10.1021/la1037316. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


We demonstrate here that microemulsions with an IL as the continuous phase can be formed so that they are stable over a wide temperature range and have intermediary properties between flexible and stiff microemulsions. Three components (1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ethylsulfate ([emim][etSO(4)]), limonene, and octylphenol ethoxylate (Triton X 100, abbreviated as TX-100)) were used. This ternary system has been characterized from ambient temperature down to -10 °C by means of conductivity, viscosity, and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) measurements. The SAXS data exhibit a characteristic single, broad scattering peak in conjunction with a typical q(-4) decay at large q values. The SAXS data have also been interpreted in terms of a dimensionless dilution plot, demonstrating that microstructures are neither isolated droplets nor a random flexible film structure but resemble molten liquid crystals (i.e., they are formed from locally cylindrical or planar structures). This semirigidity is attributed to a good match between the surfactant and the ionic liquid; this holds in a temperature range well below 0 °C.