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Ionic liquids for technological applications

W. Teo, P. Hunt
Imperial College London, GB

Keywords: Ionic liquids


The focus of our investigation is on phosphonium ILs. It is well known that ammonium ILs have designer features that finds many uses in industrial applications. Our impetus is to extend the same features to low-cost phosphonium ILs by functionalising the alkyl chains on the cation. Our work investigates, both experimentally and theoretically, how functionalising the alkyl chains of quaternary phosphonium cations affects the properties of phosphonium ILs. R’PR3 functionalised phosphonium ILs (where R=CH3, R’ refers to asymmetric and perfluorinated alkyl chains, and those with olefin, cyano, ether and carboxylic functional groups) will be studied using quantum chemical calculations, by employing MP2 and DFT methods. Computed electronic properties of these structures can be related to IL macroscopic properties such as chemical and thermal stability. Synthesis of selected phosphonium ILs followed by their characterisation seeks to provide experimental evidence supporting our theoretical analysis and a basis for comparison with literature results. By enhancing our understanding of these new “materials”, rational design of ILs with desired properties may become a reality, where molecular structure can be correlated to the physico-chemical properties of ILs. This facilitates targeted synthesis of task-specific ILs.
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