Initial Stages of Aggregation in Aqueous Solutions of Ionic Liquids: Molecular Dynamics Studies

BL Bhargava and ML Klein, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 113, 9499-9505 (2009).

DOI: 10.1021/jp903560y

Structures formed by 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide aqueous solutions with decyl, dodecyl, tetradecyl, and hexadecyl chains have been studied using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Spontaneous self-assembly of the amphiphilic cations to form quasi-spherical polydisperse aggregates has been observed in all of the systems, with the size and nature of the aggregates varying with chain length. In all systems, the cation alkyl tails are buried deep inside the aggregates with the polar imidazolium group exposed to exploit the favorable interactions with water. Aggregation numbers steadily increase with the chain length. The hexadecyl aggregates have the most ordered internal structure of the systems studied, and the alkyl chains in these cations show the least number of gauche defects.

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