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Surface Layering in Ionic Liquids: An X-ray Reflectivity Study

Solutskin E, Ocko BM, Taman L, Kuzmenko I, Gog T, Deutsch M

127 (21): 7796-7804 JUN 1 2005
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The surface structure and thermodynamics of two ionic liquids, based on the 1-alkyl-3-methylimiclazolium cations, were studied by X-ray reflectivity and surface tensiometry. A molecular layer of a density similar to 18 % higher than that of the bulk is found to form at the free surface of these liquids. In common with surface layering in liquid metals and surface freezing in melts of organic chain molecules, this effect is induced by the lower dimensionality of the surface. The concentrations of the oppositely charged ions within the surface layer are determined by chemical substitution of the anion. The temperature-dependent surface tension measurements reveal a normal, negative-slope temperature dependence. The different possible molecular arrangements within the enhanced-density surface layer are discussed.

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