Aqueous Solutions of Ionic Liquids: Microscopic Assembly

Jose Manuel Vicent-Luna, David Dubbeldam, Paula Gómez-Álvarez, Sofia Calero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Aqueous solutions of ionic liquids are of special interest, due to the distinctive properties of ionic liquids, in particular, their amphiphilic character. A better understanding of the structure-property relationships of such systems is hence desirable. One of the crucial molecular-level interactions that influences the macroscopic behavior is hydrogen bonding. In this work, we conduct molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the effects of ionic liquids on the hydrogen-bond network of water in dilute aqueous solutions of ionic liquids with various combinations of cations and anions. Calculations are performed for imidazolium-based cations with alkyl chains of different lengths and for a variety of anions, namely, [Br]-, [NO3]-, [SCN]-, [BF4]-, [PF6]-, and [Tf2N]-. The structure of water and the water-ionic liquid interactions involved in the formation of a heterogeneous network are analyzed by using radial distribution functions and hydrogen-bond statistics. To this end, we employ the geometric criterion of the hydrogen-bond definition and it is shown that the structure of water is sensitive to the amount of ionic liquid and to the anion type. In particular, [SCN]- and [Tf2N]- were found to be the most hydrophilic and hydrophobic anions, respectively. Conversely, the cation chain length did not influence the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-386
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • hydrogen bonds
  • imidazolium
  • ionic liquids
  • molecular dynamics
  • structure of water


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