Communication: Potentials of mean force study of ionic liquid ion pair aggregation in polar covalent molecule solvents

SRP Bandlamudi and KM Benjamin, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 148, 201101 (2018).

DOI: 10.1063/1.5028144

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were conducted for 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium methylsulfate EMIMMeSO4 dissolved in six polar covalent molecules acetic acid, acetone, chloroform, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), isopropyl alcohol, and methanol to understand the free energies of ionic liquid (IL) ion pairing/aggregation in the limit of infinite dilution. Free energy landscapes or potentials of mean force (PMF) were computed using umbrella sampling and the weighted histogram analysis method. The PMF studies showed the strongest IL ion pairing in chloroform, and the strength of IL ion pairing decreases in the order of chloroform, acetone, propanol, acetic acid, DMSO, and methanol. In the limit of infinite dilution, the free energy curves for IL ion aggregation in co-solvents were characterized by two distinct minima global (similar to 3.6 angstrom) and local (similar to 5.7 angstrom), while free energy values at these minima differed significantly for IL in each co-solvent. The PMF studies were extended for determining the free energy of IL ion aggregation as a function of concentration of methanol. Studies showed that as the concentration of methanol increased, the free energy of ion aggregation decreased, suggesting greater ion pair stability, in agreement with previously reported MD clustering and radial distribution function data. Published by AIP Publishing.

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