Research Topic

Ionic liquids and Deep Eutectic Solvents: two contrasting options or opposite sides of the same coin?

About this Research Topic

The search for alternatives to traditional volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as solvents has been a topic of intense research in the green chemistry arena for the last twenty years. Indeed, many aspects of VOCs, such as their flammability, volatility, petroleum-derived origin and their recalcitrant nature have been raising serious concerns from the safety and environmental perspectives, especially in view of reaching a global sustainable development. In this context, Ionic Liquids (ILs) first and more recently Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) have attracted a great deal of attention as potential media able to strategically replace VOCs in several applications. This interest is due to their safer and environmentally friendlier profile when compared to VOCs, which nowadays makes them key players in the development of many green processes and products.

Although ILs and DESs share some common features, their differences and similarities is yet to be well defined. Over time, DESs have been described in the literature ‘just as ILs’, ‘new kind of ILs’, ‘similar to ILs’ and ‘alternative to ILs’. Recent efforts have highlighted the intrinsic and distinctive traits of each one of these two green media, especially through its precursors. However, several works still paint a confusing picture by oversimplifying trends, by generalising properties as well as thermophysical, thermodynamic, and biological behaviours, and finally by overemphasizing benefits.

The aim of the present Research Topic is to provide a comparative analysis of ILs and DESs which are crucial to avoid spreading false myths and ultimately prevent damaging the reputation, especially of the young DESs research field. The ultimate goal is to highlight the potential of both these media over VOCs through their often complementary application.

This Research Topic aims at directing the attention of the green chemistry community to the need of using the correct terms when describing new solvent systems and refocusing researchers on the goal of replacing VOCs rather than trying to establish which is the best performing green solvent class.

Therefore, the Editors welcome Original Research, Review, Mini Review and Perspective articles from all research areas where these media are used in such a way to highlight the different and complementary behavior of ILs and DESs. Special emphasis will be given to those works which can help dispel false myths, thus including, but not limited to:

• ILs and DESs thermophysical and thermodynamic properties (eg thermal stability and phase behaviour, viscosity, volatility etc)

• ILs and DESs impact, toxicity and biodegradability

• ILs and DESs as solvents (eg in extraction processes, as reaction media etc)

• ILs and DESs for materials preparation (nanomaterials, polymers etc)

• ILs and DESs relevant applications (eg pharmaceutical applications, gas separation processes, electrochemical, thermal media etc)

• Intermolecular interactions of ILs and DESs


Keywords: Ionic liquids, Deep eutectic solvents, Green Chemistry, Green Transition, Sustainable Chemistry, Low melting mixtures


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The search for alternatives to traditional volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as solvents has been a topic of intense research in the green chemistry arena for the last twenty years. Indeed, many aspects of VOCs, such as their flammability, volatility, petroleum-derived origin and their recalcitrant nature have been raising serious concerns from the safety and environmental perspectives, especially in view of reaching a global sustainable development. In this context, Ionic Liquids (ILs) first and more recently Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) have attracted a great deal of attention as potential media able to strategically replace VOCs in several applications. This interest is due to their safer and environmentally friendlier profile when compared to VOCs, which nowadays makes them key players in the development of many green processes and products.

Although ILs and DESs share some common features, their differences and similarities is yet to be well defined. Over time, DESs have been described in the literature ‘just as ILs’, ‘new kind of ILs’, ‘similar to ILs’ and ‘alternative to ILs’. Recent efforts have highlighted the intrinsic and distinctive traits of each one of these two green media, especially through its precursors. However, several works still paint a confusing picture by oversimplifying trends, by generalising properties as well as thermophysical, thermodynamic, and biological behaviours, and finally by overemphasizing benefits.

The aim of the present Research Topic is to provide a comparative analysis of ILs and DESs which are crucial to avoid spreading false myths and ultimately prevent damaging the reputation, especially of the young DESs research field. The ultimate goal is to highlight the potential of both these media over VOCs through their often complementary application.

This Research Topic aims at directing the attention of the green chemistry community to the need of using the correct terms when describing new solvent systems and refocusing researchers on the goal of replacing VOCs rather than trying to establish which is the best performing green solvent class.

Therefore, the Editors welcome Original Research, Review, Mini Review and Perspective articles from all research areas where these media are used in such a way to highlight the different and complementary behavior of ILs and DESs. Special emphasis will be given to those works which can help dispel false myths, thus including, but not limited to:

• ILs and DESs thermophysical and thermodynamic properties (eg thermal stability and phase behaviour, viscosity, volatility etc)

• ILs and DESs impact, toxicity and biodegradability

• ILs and DESs as solvents (eg in extraction processes, as reaction media etc)

• ILs and DESs for materials preparation (nanomaterials, polymers etc)

• ILs and DESs relevant applications (eg pharmaceutical applications, gas separation processes, electrochemical, thermal media etc)

• Intermolecular interactions of ILs and DESs


Keywords: Ionic liquids, Deep eutectic solvents, Green Chemistry, Green Transition, Sustainable Chemistry, Low melting mixtures


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

06 March 2022 Abstract
12 May 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

06 March 2022 Abstract
12 May 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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