Amphiphilicity determines nanostructure in protic ionic liquids

Robert Hayes, Silvia Imberti, Gregory G. Warr, Rob Atkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

201 Scopus citations


The bulk structure of the two oldest ionic liquids (ILs), ethylammonium nitrate (EAN) and ethanolammonium nitrate (EtAN), is elucidated using neutron diffraction. The spectra were modelled using empirical potential structure refinement (EPSR). The results demonstrate that EAN exhibits a long-range structure of solvophobic origin, similar to a bicontinuous microemulsion or disordered L3-sponge phase, but with a domain size of only 1 nm. The alcohol (-OH) moiety in EtAN interferes with solvophobic association between cation alkyl chains resulting in small clusters of ions, rather than an extended network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3237-3247
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Feb 28 2011
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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