Daniel W. Armstrong talks
with ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions
about this month's Emerging Research Front Paper in the
field of Engineering. The author has also sent along
images of their work.
Article: Structure and properties of high stability
geminal dicationic ionic liquids
JL;Ding, RF;Ellern, A;Armstrong, DW
Journal: J AM CHEM SOC, 127 (2): 593-604 JAN 19 2005
Addresses: Iowa State Univ, Dept Chem, Ames, IA 50011
Iowa State Univ, Dept Chem, Ames, IA 50011 USA.
Why do you think your paper is highly
Research involving ionic liquids (ILs) is of broad scientific interest
(see attached table). Unfortunately their touted beneficial properties
of high thermal stability, low volatility, physico-chemical tunability,
etc., were not as profound as had been initially thought. Also it was
difficult to characterize and differentiate these unique liquid salts.
In this one paper, we first introduced multifunctional ILs and demonstrated
their greatly enhanced stability and tunablity (see attached figure to the
right). Furthermore we outlined the most definitive approach for
characterizing them via their solvent properties, as well as outlining the
factors that contributed to their low-temperature crystallization.
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
the uses of RTILs (includes figure and
We described the first synthetic protocols for this new class of ultra-high
stability ILs as well as the best way to characterize them. Also the
structural factors that controlled crystallization and melting points were
considered. Finally, important applications for these new materials were
Would you summarize the significance of your paper in
We have developed a new class of ultra-high stability liquids that will
impact many areas of science and technology. Many things that previously
were considered to be difficult or even impossible to accomplish may now be
feasible with these new materials.
How did you become involved in this research, and were
there any particular problems encountered along the way?
I became involved in this area of research a few years ago as a result of
personal curiosity. I wondered if conventional ILs could be used as unique
separation media as well as to enhance mass spectrometry. Either they could
not or they were severely limited. Rather than leave the field, we devised
ways to produce enhanced ILs that could accomplish truly difficult tasks.
To do this we had to increase our synthetic capabilities and achieve a
better general understanding of the nature of ILs.
Where do you see your research leading in the
We will continue to develop novel ILs and to enhance our understanding of
the factors that control their properties. We will focus on chiral ILs and
unique ILs that can be used to solve specific scientific and technological
problems. Also we have found that some of our new ILs have interesting
medicinal/pharmacological properties. These will be pursued.
Do you foresee any social or political implications for
It is difficult to predict future social or political implications.
However, it is clear that our ILs are now (and will continue to be)
introduced as new scientific and consumer products. Further, if the future
pharmacological properties can be validated, these unique compounds may
enhance not only employment but also health and well-being. Also, since ILs
are considered "green solvents" in terms of air pollution, there are
possible environmental benefits.
Dr. Daniel W. Armstrong
Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Robert A. Welch Chair, Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
The University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, TX, USA
Keywords: ionic liquids, high thermal stability, low
volatility, physico-chemical tunability, liquid salts.