Scientific article

More than a Solvent: Donor–Acceptor Complexes of Ionic Liquids and Electron Acceptors

Publication date2018

The applicability of room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) as inert solvents is generally based on their electrochemical window. We herein show that this concept has its limitations if RTILs are exposed to an oxidizing environment in the presence of light. Acetonitrile solutions of RTILs with 1-methyl-3-ethylimidazolium as cation and five different anions, including thiocyanate (SCN–) and dicyanamide (DCA–), were investigated. Upon addition of organic electron acceptors to solutions of RTILs with SCN– or DCA–, charge-transfer (CT) absorption bands due to the formation of donor–acceptor complexes between the anion and the electron acceptor were observed. Time-resolved measurements from the femtosecond to the microsecond regimes were used to investigate the nature and the excited-state dynamics of these complexes upon excitation in the CT band. We show that even though the RTILs are seemingly inert according to their electrochemical properties, the dicyanamide and thiocyanate based RTILs can actively participate in photochemical reactions in oxidizing environments and therefore differ from the behavior expected for an inert solvent. This has not only important implications for the long-term stability of RTIL-based systems but can also lead to misinterpretation of photochemical studies in these solvents.

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Citation (ISO format)
ASTER, Alexander, VAUTHEY, Eric. More than a Solvent: Donor–Acceptor Complexes of Ionic Liquids and Electron Acceptors. In: Journal of Physical Chemistry. B, Condensed Matter, Materials, Surfaces, Interfaces and Biophysical, 2018, vol. 122, n° 9, p. 2646–2654. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b00468
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1520-6106

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