Materials

Using TIMS to determine molecular properties about ionic liquids

Background

Ion mobility spectrometry can be used to determine molecular properties about ionic liquids as well. Ionic liquids are interesting because they are a liquid salt at room temperature and have extremely low vapor pressure. Because of these unique properties, ionic liquids have a wide range of applications from electro-propulsion of microsatellites to pharmaceuticals.

In order to maximize their performance in their application many wish to study the structures of ionic liquids; however, these molecules are hard to study with current experimental methods due to their unique characteristics. Although ionic liquid structures are hard to study, ion mobility spectrometry is unique because it can analyze the structures of molecules from the liquid phase. Ion mobility spectrometry uses friction from a buffer gas to separate the molecules by size and uses DC potentials to separate the molecules by their mass-to-charge.

Our goal is to determine how these ionic liquids form clusters in order to maximize high performance use of ionic liquids. One example of how this research can be beneficial is that these results can be used to make electronic propulsion of microsatellites more efficient.