On the solid, liquid and solution structural organization of imidazolium ionic liquids

1,3-dialkyl imidazolium salts are one of the most popular and investigated classes of room temperature ionic liquids. Although in various cases the physical-chemical properties and/or the outcome of the processes in these liquids significantly differ from those performed in "classical" dipolar organic solvents, they are still regarded as merely homogeneous solvents. In this brief overview it is developed the concept that pure 1,3-dialkylimidazolium ionic liquids are better described as hydrogen-bonded polymeric supramolecules of the type {[(DAI)x(X)x-n)] n+ [(DAI)x-n(X)x)] n-}n where DAI is the 1,3-dialkylimidazolium cation and X the anion. This structural pattern is a general trend for the solid phase and is maintained to a great extent in the liquid phase and even in the gas phase. The introduction of other molecules and macromolecules occurs with a disruption of the hydrogen bond network and in some cases can generate nano-structures with polar and non-polar regions where inclusion-type compounds can be formed.

ionic liquids; molten salts; supramolecules; nano-materials; solvents; clusters

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