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J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Sep 29;126(38):11788-9.

Influence of water on the surface of hydrophilic and hydrophobic room-temperature ionic liquids.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204, USA.


Vibrational spectroscopy, sum frequency generation, has been used to study the gas-liquid interface of imidazolium-based, room-temperature ionic liquids. The ionic liquids are divided into two categories on the basis of their miscibility with water, as hydrophobic (immiscible) and hydrophilic (miscible). The spectroscopy results indicate that water will reorient the cations of the hydrophobic ionic liquid, while in the hydrophilic ones they remain unaffected. Thus, under low water conditions the plane of the imidazolium ring remains parallel to the surface for both types of ionic liquid. However, at high water content the ring will reorient to along the surface normal for the hydrophobic ionic liquid but remain parallel to the surface for the hydrophilic one. This is a reversible process.

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