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Joint EPSRC and NSF funded project to explore the surface structure of ionic liquids

Posted on 23 September 2013

Professor Duncan Bruce and Dr John Slattery are part of a successful bid to the NSF/EPSRC scheme for international collaborations in chemistry between US and UK Investigators.

Photo of Duncan Bruce and John  Slattery

Approximately £900k was awarded by the EPSRC and NSF to the three-year project “Ionic-Liquid Surface Structure: Informing Applications through Dynamical Measurements”, which will fund a large collaborative network involving Heriot-Watt University (Professor Ken McKendrick and Dr Matt Costen), The University of York (Slattery and Bruce), Montana State University (Professor Tim Minton) and Northwestern University, USA (Professor George Schatz). The overall aim of the network is to enhance the fundamental understanding of ionic-liquid (IL) surface structure and to relate this new insight to some key applications of ILs in catalysis and liquid crystal chemistry.

A post-doctoral research fellow at York will synthesise and characterise a range of high-purity ILs and liquid crystalline ILs, including isotopically-labelled materials, and their surface structures will be probed by reactive-oxygen-atom scattering experiments at Heriot-Watt and Motana State universities. The York group will also study a range of catalytic reactions of current interest in these ILs to investigate the relationship between surface structure and catalytic activity and will explore how the bulk ordering present in liquid-crystalline ILs influences ordering at their surfaces. Experimental work will be supported by computational studies, both in York and at Northwestern University.