Conventional synthesis of inorganic materials relies heavily on water and organic solvents. Alternatively, the synthesis of inorganic materials using, or in the presence of, ionic liquids represents a burgeoning direction in materials chemistry. Use of ionic liquids in solvent extraction and organic catalysis has been extensively studied, but their use in inorganic synthesis has just begun. Ionic liquids are a family of non-conventional molten salts that can act as templates and precursors to inorganic materials, as well as solvents. They offer many advantages, such as negligible vapor pressures, wide liquidus ranges, good thermal stability, tunable solubility for both organic and inorganic molecules, and much synthetic flexibility. In this Review, the use of ionic liquids in the preparation of several categories of inorganic and hybrid materials (i.e., metal structures, non-metal elements, silicas, organosilicas, metal oxides, metal chalcogenides, metal salts, open-framework structures, ionic liquid-functionalized materials, and supported ionic liquids) is summarized. The status quo of the research field is assessed, and some future perspectives are furnished.
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