About this Research Topic
Sustainability, defined as the way to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future ones to meet their own, is one of the main challenges of modern society. Within this context, chemistry plays a significant role, and solvent nature as well as its environmental impact are pivotal issues frequently addressed.
Ionic liquids, i.e. organic salts that have melting temperatures lower than 100 °C, have been frequently hailed as alternatives to conventional organic solvents. Their greenness has been mainly ascribed to their low vapor pressure and flammability. However, in addition to this, their high solubilizing ability and low miscibility with conventional organic solvents frequently allow for reducing the amount used, as well as for their recycling.
Ionic liquids, especially the ones featured by aromatic cations, are frequently described as “polymeric supramolecular fluids” constructed through the establishment of feeble but cooperative supramolecular interactions like Coulomb and π-π interactions, as well as hydrogen bonds.
In general, ionic liquids are also indicated as “designer solvents” as it is possible to tailor their features to specific applications by simply modifying their cation or anion structure. In this way, small changes in the ion’s structure can give rise to solvents showing very different properties.
The above premises widely justify the growing interest in the properties and applications of ionic liquids, seen in recent literature (according to Scopus, more than 27,000 papers published in the last five years have “ionic liquids” as a keyword). Thanks to their properties, they have been variously used as solvent media, solvents for the obtainment of gel phases, components in the building of dye-sensitized solar cells, media for the preparation of thermochromic materials, etc.
This Research Topic aims to present how structural features can determine not only the properties of ionic liquids, but also their possible employment. In this latter case, the interest arises from their ability to affect the outcome of a given reaction in terms of rate, yield, and nature of the products obtained for general use in the field of materials chemistry.
This article collection is dedicated to Prof. Kenneth R. Seddon for his outstanding contribution to the formation and development of the ionic liquids community.
Keywords: Ionic Liquids, Solvent Effect, Structural Investigation, Functional Materials, Catalysis
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