Zwitterionic liquids (Zw-ILs) have been developed that are homologous to monovalent ionic liquids (ILs) and show great promise for controlled dissolution of cellulosic biomass. Using both high energy X-ray scattering and atomistic molecular simulations, this article compares the bulk liquid structural properties for novel Zw-ILs with their homologous ILs. It is shown that the significant localization of the charges on Zw-ILs leads to charge ordering similar to that observed for conventional ionic liquids with monovalent anions and cations. A low-intensity first sharp diffraction peak in the liquid structure factor S(q) is observed for both the Zw-IL and the IL. This is unexpected since both the Zw-IL and IL have a 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethyl (diether) functional group on the cationic imidazolium ring and ether functional groups are known to suppress this peak. Detailed analyses show that this intermediate range order in the liquid structure arises for slightly different reasons in the Zw-IL vs. the IL. For the Zw-IL, the ether tails in the liquid are shown to aggregate into nanoscale domains.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry