Supramolecular Self-Assembly of Nanoconfined Ionic Liquids for Fast Anisotropic Ion Transport

Tomy Cherian, Danilo Rosa Nunes, Thomas G. Dane, Johan Jacquemin, Ulla Vainio, Teemu T. T. Myllymaki, Jaakko V. Timonen, Nikolay Houbenov, Manuel Marechal, Patrice Rannou, Olli Ikkala

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Materials involving nanoconfinement of ionic liquids (ILs) have been pursued for functionalities and ionic devices. However, their complex synthesis, challenges to achieve long-range order, and laborious tunability limit their practical implementation. Herein, these challenges are addressed by complexing surfactants to ILs, yielding a facile, modular, and scalable approach. Based on structural screening, ionic complexation of di-n-nonylamine to the terminal sulfonic acid of 1-(4-sulfobutyl)-3-methylimidazolium hydrogen sulfate IL is selected as a proof of concept. Spontaneous homeotropic smectic order over micrometers is observed, with alternating ionic and alkyl layers. The 1 nm thick ionic layers involve 2D crystalline internal order up to 150 degrees C, strongly promoting anisotropic ion transport (sigma(||)/sigma(perpendicular to) > 6500), and curiously, still allowing fluidity. High ionic conductivity of 35 mS cm(-1) and mesoscopic diffusion coefficient of approximate to 10(-5) cm(2) s(-1) at 150 degrees C along the ionic layers are observed. Fast anisotropic ion transport by simply complexing two components open doors to functional materials and applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1905054
Number of pages8
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Early online date3 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • 2D ionic transport
  • Ionic liquid
  • nanoconfinement
  • supramolecular ionic liquid crystal
  • surfactant-self-assembly
  • RI-MP2

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