The SISM Group has had an ideal start to the New Year – with a manuscript accepted based on some recent synchrotron studies of ionic liquid adsorption to a metal interface. The paper is now online at the PCCP website (link here). Ionic liquids (sometimes referred to as room temperature ionic liquids) are being investigated as novel solvents for the production of new chemicals, as components in energy storage devices, and as lubricants. It is this latter application area that is of major interest for the group, and we are studying how these liquids interact with and stick to metal interfaces, as this will affect their ability to function as lubricants.
The paper just published has a further focus on ionic liquid components (positive and negative ions) adsorbing from solution. This scenario is more akin to the ionic liquid being used as a lubricant additive (like the classical fatty acids added to engine oil to aid the action of the lubricating fluid). We used some lab-based techniques available to us at our institute as well as the soft X-ray endstation (pictured below – with Pasindu and Sarah – two of the co-authors on the paper) at the Australian Synchrotron to interrogate the layer of adsorbed ionic liquid on gold.
The study revealed a detailed picture of the ionic liquid layer, and we are performing follow-up studies with other metals.