Ionic liquids are being tested as potential replacements for current electrolytes in energy-related applications. Electron transfer (ET) plays a central role in these applications, making it essential to understand how ET in ionic liquids differs from ET in conventional organic solvents and how these differences affect reaction kinetics. A new intramolecular electron donor-acceptor probe was synthesized by covalently linking the popular photoacceptor coumarin 152 with the donor dimethylaniline to create the dyad "C152-DMA" for potential use in probing dynamical solvent effects in ionic liquids. Molecular dynamics simulations of this dyad show the considerable conformational flexibility of the linker group but over a range of geometries in which the ET rate parameters vary little and should have minimal effect on reaction times >100 ps. Steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence methods show the spectra of C152-DMA to be highly responsive to solvent polarity, with ET rates varying over the range of 108 to 1012 s-1 between nonpolar and high-polarity conventional solvents. The sensitivity to hydrolysis in the presence of acidic impurities limits the dyad's use to ionic liquids of high purity. The results in the few ionic liquids examined here suggest that in addition to solvent polarity, electron transfer in C152-DMA also depends on solvent fluidity or solvation times.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry