Ionic Liquid Films at the Water-Air Interface: Lang muir Isotherms of Tetra-alkylphosphonium-Based Ionic Liquids

Karina Shimizu, Jose N. Canongia Lopes, Amelia M. P. S. Goncalves da Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The behavior of ionic liquids trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide and trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium dicyanamide, [P-66614][Ntf(2)] and [P-66614][N(CN)(2)], respectively, at the water-air interface was investigated using the Langmuir trough technique. The obtained surface pressure versus mean molecular area (MMA) isotherms, pi-A, and surface potential versus MMA isotherms, Delta V-A, show distinct interfacial behavior between the two systems. The results were interpreted at a molecular level using molecular dynamics simulations: the different compression regimes along the P-66614][Ntf(2)] isotherm correspond to the self-organization of the ions at the water surface into compact and planar monolayers that coalesce at an MMA value of ca. 1.85 nm(2)/ion pair to form an expanded liquidlike layer. Upon further compression, the monolayer collapses at around 1.2 nm(2)/ion pair to yield a progressively thicker and less organized layer. These transitions are much more subdued in the P-66614][Ntf(2)] system because of the more hydrophilic nature of the dicyanamide anion. The numerical density profiles obtained from the MD simulation trajectories are also able to emphasize the very unusual packing of the four long alkyl side chains of the cation above and below the ionic layer that forms at the water surface. Such a distribution is also different for the two studied systems during the different compression regimes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8371-8378
Number of pages8
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2015




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