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Fluorohydrogenate Cluster Ions in the Gas Phase: Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry of the [1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium+][F(HF)2.3] Ionic Liquid

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journal contribution
posted on 27.12.2013, 00:00 by Gary S. Groenewold, James E. Delmore, Michael T. Benson, Tetsuya Tsuda, Rika Hagiwara
Electrospray ionization of the fluorohydrogenate ionic liquid [1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium]­[F­(HF)2.3] ionic liquid was conducted to understand the nature of the anionic species as they exist in the gas phase. Abundant fluorohydrogenate clusters were produced; however, the dominant anion in the clusters was [FHF], and not the fluoride-bound HF dimers or trimers that are seen in solution. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations suggest that HF molecules are bound to the clusters by about 30 kcal/mol. The DFT-calculated structures of the [FHF]-bearing clusters show that the favored interactions of the anions are with the methynic and acetylenic hydrogen atoms on the imidazolium cation, forming planar structures similar to those observed in the solid state. A second series of abundant negative ions was also formed that contained [SiF5] together with the imidazolium cation and the fluorohydrogenate anions that originate from reaction of the spray solution with silicate surfaces.