Structure of the room-temperature ionic liquid 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium hydrogen sulfate: conformational isomerism

Johannes Kiefer, Cory C Pye

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39 Citations (Scopus)


The acidic room-temperature ionic liquid 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium hydrogen sulfate has recently been identified to have beneficial properties for practical applications in catalysis and electrochemistry. In the present work, the conformational isomerism of this ionic liquid is studied by means of density functional theory calculations and experiments in terms of infrared absorption and Raman scattering spectroscopy. For the hydrogen sulfate anion, the trans conformer is found to be the favored isomer in the ionic liquid. For the 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium cation, three different low-energy conformations were obtained, differing only in the orientation of the hexyl chain. The comparison of vibrational frequencies with IR and Raman data showed good agreement for all three conformations, indicating their presence in the ionic liquid. Beyond revealing the conformational information, the experimental spectra indicate strong interionic interactions. Vibrations of sulfuric acid could be observed, indicating possible proton transfer from the cation to the anion. This is further supported by the appearance of modes around 2000 cm(-1) in the IR spectrum, which could tentatively be assigned to C2-H stretching vibrations red-shifted as a result of strong interionic hydrogen bonds as a prerequisite of proton transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6713-6720
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number24
Early online date28 May 2010
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2010


  • AB-initio
  • infrared spectra
  • rational design
  • sulfuric acid
  • raman spectroscopy
  • catalysis
  • solvents
  • 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium
  • electrolytes


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