Utilizing Infrared Spectroscopy to Analyze the Interfacial Structures of Ionic Liquids/Al₂O₃ and Ionic Liquids/Mica Mixtures under High Pressures

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2019 Mar 5;9(3):373. doi: 10.3390/nano9030373.


The interfacial interactions between ionic liquids (1,3-dimethylimidazolium methyl sulfate and 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethanesulfonate) and solid surfaces (mesoporous aluminum oxide and mica) have been studied by infrared spectroscopy at high pressures (up to 2.5 GPa). Under ambient pressure, the spectroscopic features of pure ionic liquids and mixtures of ionic liquids/solid particles (Al₂O₃ and mica) are similar. As the pressure is increased, the cooperative effect in the local structure of pure 1,3-dimethylimidazolium methyl sulfate becomes significantly enhanced as the imidazolium C⁻H absorptions of the ionic liquid are red-shifted. However, this pressure-enhanced effect is reduced by adding the solid particles (Al₂O₃ and mica) to 1,3-dimethylimidazolium methyl sulfate. Although high-pressure IR can detect the interactions between 1,3-dimethylimidazolium methyl sulfate and particle surfaces, the difference in the interfacial interactions in the mixtures of Al₂O₃ and mica is not clear. By changing the type of ionic liquid to 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethanesulfonate, the interfacial interactions become more sensitive to the type of solid surfaces. The mica particles in the mixture perturb the local structure of 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethanesulfonate under high pressures, forcing 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethanesulfonate to form into an isolated structure. For Al₂O₃, 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethanesulfonate tends to form an associated structure under high pressures.

Keywords: high pressures; infrared; ionic liquids; spectroscopy.