Structure of cyano-anion ionic liquids: X-ray scattering and simulations

Kamal B. Dhungana, Luiz F O Faria, Boning Wu, Min Liang, Mauro C C Ribeiro, Claudio J. Margulis, Ed Castner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Ionic liquids with cyano anions have long been used because of their unique combination of low-melting temperatures, reduced viscosities, and increased conductivities. Recently we have shown that cyano anions in ionic liquids are particularly interesting for their potential use as electron donors to excited state photo-acceptors [B. Wu et al., J. Phys. Chem. B 119, 14790-14799 (2015)]. Here we report on bulk structural and quantum mechanical results for a series of ionic liquids based on the 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium cation, paired with the following five cyano anions: SeCN-, SCN-, N(CN)2-, C(CN)3-, and B(CN)4-. By combining molecular dynamics simulations, high-energy X-ray scattering measurements, and periodic boundary condition DFT calculations, we are able to obtain a comprehensive description of the liquid landscape as well as the nature of the HOMO-LUMO states for these ionic liquids in the condensed phase. Features in the structure functions for these ionic liquids are somewhat different than the commonly observed adjacency, charge-charge, and polarity peaks, especially for the bulkiest B(CN)4- anion. While the other four cyano-anion ionic liquids present an anionic HOMO, the one for Im2,1+/B(CN)4- is cationic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024503
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 14 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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