Free electrons and ionic liquids: study of excited states by means of electron-energy loss spectroscopy and the density functional theory multireference configuration interaction method.

Abstract

The technique of low energy (0-30 eV) electron impact spectroscopy, originally developed for gas phase molecules, is applied to room temperature ionic liquids (IL). Electron energy loss (EEL) spectra recorded near threshold, by collecting 0-2 eV electrons, are largely continuous, assigned to excitation of a quasi-continuum of high overtones and combination vibrations of low-frequency modes. EEL spectra recorded by collecting 10 eV electrons show predominantly discrete vibrational and electronic bands. The vibrational energy-loss spectra correspond well to IR spectra except for a broadening (∼0.04 eV) caused by the liquid surroundings, and enhanced overtone activity indicating a contribution from resonant excitation mechanism. The spectra of four representative ILs were recorded in the energy range of electronic excitations and compared to density functional theory multireference configuration interaction (DFT/MRCI) calculations, with good agreement. The spectra up to about 8 eV are dominated by π-π* transitions of the aromatic cations. The lowest bands were identified as triplet states. The spectral region 2-8 eV was empty in the case of a cation without π orbitals. The EEL spectrum of a saturated solution of methylene green in an IL band showed the methylene green EEL band at 2 eV, indicating that ILs may be used as a host to study nonvolatile compounds by this technique in the future.

DOI: 10.1039/c5cp01417d

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Cite this paper

@article{Regeta2015FreeEA, title={Free electrons and ionic liquids: study of excited states by means of electron-energy loss spectroscopy and the density functional theory multireference configuration interaction method.}, author={Khrystyna O. Regeta and Christoph Bannwarth and Stefan Grimme and Michael L Allan}, journal={Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP}, year={2015}, volume={17 24}, pages={15771-80} }