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Rotational Diffusion of Nonpolar and Ionic Solutes in 1‑Alkyl-3-Methylimidazolium Bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imides: Is Solute Rotation Always Influenced by the Length of the Alkyl Chain on the Imidazolium Cation?

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journal contribution
posted on 20.02.2016, 07:57 by V. Gangamallaiah, G. B. Dutt
In an attempt to find out whether the length of the alkyl chain on the imidazolium cation has a bearing on solute rotation, temperature-dependent fluorescence anisotropies of three structurally similar solutes have been measured in a series of 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium (alkyl = methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl, and hexyl) bis­(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)­imides. Solute–solvent coupling constants obtained from the experimentally measured reorientation times with the aid of Stokes–Einstein–Debye hydrodynamic theory indicate that there is no influence of the length of the alkyl chain on the rotation of nonpolar, anionic, and cationic solutes 9-phenylanthracene (9-PA), fluorescein (FL), and rhodamine 110 (R110), respectively. It has also been noticed that the rotational diffusion of 9-PA is closer to the predictions of slip hydrodynamics, whereas the rotation of negatively charged FL and positively charged R110 is almost identical and follows stick hydrodynamics in these ionic liquids. Despite having similar shape and size, ionic solutes rotate slower by a factor of 3–4 compared to the nonpolar solute. Interplay of specific and electrostatic interactions between FL and the imidazolium cation of the ionic liquids, and between R110 and the bis­(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)­imide anion, appear to be responsible for the observed behavior. These results are an indication that the length of the alkyl chain on the imidazolium cation does not alter their physical properties in a manner that has an effect on solute rotation.

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