Ionic Liquid Ordering at an Oxide Surface

Wagstaffe, Michael, Jackman, Mark J., Syres, Karen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7439-475X, Generalov, Alexander and Thomas, Andrew G. (2016) Ionic Liquid Ordering at an Oxide Surface. ChemPhysChem, 17 (21). pp. 3430-3434. ISSN 1439-4235

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The interaction of the ionic liquid [C4C1Im][BF4] with anatase TiO2, a model photoanode material, has been studied using a combination of synchrotron radiation photoelectron spectroscopy and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy. The system is of interest as a model for fundamental electrolyte–electrode and dye-sensitized solar cells. The initial interaction involves degradation of the [BF4]− anion, resulting in incorporation of F into O vacancies in the anatase surface. At low coverages, [C4C1Im][BF4] is found to order at the anatase(101) surface via electrostatic attraction, with the imidazolium ring oriented 32±4° from the anatase TiO2 surface. As the coverage of ionic liquid increases, the influence of the oxide surface on the topmost layers is reduced and the ordering is lost.

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