Molecular Modeling of Imidazolium-Based [Tf2N−] Ionic Liquids: Microscopic Structure, Thermodynamic and Dynamic Properties, and Segmental Dynamics Academic Article uri icon


  • The microscopic structure, thermodynamic properties, local segmental dynamics, and self-diffusion coefficients of three ionic liquids (ILs) with a common anion, namely, the bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl) imide ([Tf2N-]), and imidazolium-based cations that differ in the alkyl tail length, namely, the 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium ([C4mim+]), the 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium ([C6mim+]), and the 1-octyl-3-methylimidazolium ([C8mim+]), are calculated over the temperature range of 298.15-333.15 K and pressure range of 0.1-60 MPa. Quantum calculations based on density functional theory are performed on isolated ion pairs, and minimum energy conformers are identified. Electronic density results are used to estimate the electrostatic potential of a molecular force field that is used subsequently for long molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of bulk ILs. Thermodynamic properties calculated from MD are shown to be in excellent agreement for the bulk density and good agreement for derivative properties when compared to experimental data. The new force field is an improvement over earlier ones for the same ILs. The microscopic structure as expressed through the radial distribution function is thoroughly calculated, and it is shown that the bulk structure characteristics are very similar to those obtained from the quantum calculations on isolated ion pairs. The segmental dynamics expressed in terms of bond and torsion angle decorrelation is shown to assume a broad range of characteristic times. Molecular segments in the alkyl tail of the cations are significantly faster than segments in the vicinity of the imidazolium ring. Finally, the new force field predicts accurately the self-diffusion coefficients of the cations and the anions over the entire temperature range examined, thus confirming its validity for a broad range of physical properties.

author list (cited authors)

  • Logotheti, G. E., Ramos, J., & Economou, I. G.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009 11:11 AM