Determining the Composition of the Vacuum-Liquid Interface in Ionic-Liquid Mixtures

Eric J. Smoll, Maria Antonia Tesa-Serrate, Simon Purcell, Lucia D'Andrea, Duncan W. Bruce, John M. Slattery, Matthew Lawrence Costen, Timothy K. Minton, Kenneth George McKendrick

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24 Citations (Scopus)
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The vacuum-liquid interfaces of a number of ionic-liquid mixtures have been investigated using a combination of reactive-atom scattering with laser-induced fluorescence detection (RAS-LIF), selected surface tension measurements, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The mixtures are based on the widespread 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium ([Cnmim]+) cation, including mixed cations which differ in chain length or chemical functionality with a common anion; and different anions for a common cation. RAS-LIF results imply that the surface compositions exhibit a general form of non-stoichiometric behaviour that mimics the well-known Henry's and Raoult's laws at low and high mole fraction, respectively. The Extended Langmuir model provides a moderately good single-parameter fit, but higher-order terms are required for an accurate description. The quantitative relationship between RAS-LIF and surface tension, which probes the surface composition only indirectly, is explored for mixtures of [C2mim]+ and [C12mim]+ with a common bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide ([NTf2]-) anion. Extended Langmuir model fits to surface tension data are broadly consistent with those to RAS-LIF; however, several other common approaches to extracting surface compositions from measured surface tensions result in much larger discrepancies. MD simulations suggest that RAS-LIF faithfully reports on the alkyl-chain exposure at the surface, which is only subtly modified by composition-dependent structural reorganisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-522
Number of pages26
JournalFaraday Discussions
Early online date14 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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