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Stable Iron Carbide Nanoparticle Dispersions in [Emim][SCN] and [Emim][N(CN)2] Ionic Liquids

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-07-06, 00:00 authored by Varsha Khare, Alexander Kraupner, Alexandre Mantion, Aleksandra Jeličić, Andreas F. Thünemann, Cristina Giordano, Andreas Taubert
Dispersions of Fe3C nanoparticles in several ionic liquids (ILs) have been investigated. The ILs are based on 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium [Emim] and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium [Bmim] cations. Anions are ethylsulfate [ES], methanesulfonate [MS], trifluoromethylsulfonate (triflate) [TfO], tetrafluoroborate [BF4], dicyanamide [N(CN)2], and thiocyanate [SCN]. Among the ILs studied, [Emim][SCN] and [Emim][N(CN)2] stand out because only in these ILs have stable and transparent nanoparticle dispersions been obtained. All other ILs lead to blackish, slightly turbid dispersions or to completely nontransparent suspensions, which often contain undispersed sediment. UV/vis spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and X-ray scattering suggest that the reason for the stabilization of the Fe3C nanoparticles in [Emim][SCN] is the leaching of traces of iron from the particles (without affecting the crystal structure of the Fe3C particles). The resulting particle surface is thus carbon-rich, which presumably favors the stabilization of the particles. A similar explanation can be postulated for [Emim][N(CN)2], with the dicyanamide anion also being a good ligand for iron.