We apply electron spectroscopy methods with different surface sensitivities to elucidate the DOS of the surface and the near-surface region of [XMIm]Cl (X=octyl, hexyl, butyl, and ethyl alkyl chain) ionic liquids. Using metastable induced electron spectroscopy (MIES) we are able to detect the density of states in front of the outermost surface, whereas ultraviolet and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS and XPS) measurements provide lower surface sensitivity. The assignment of certain structures in the valence band spectra to particular atoms/functional groups of the ionic liquid based on DFT calculations and the reconstruction of PES spectra enables us to obtain information on the dominating groups at the surface, or in other words, on the molecular/ionic arrangement and orientation at the surface. From angular resolved XPS it is concluded that the alkyl chains dominate at the outermost surface. In agreement with this a decreasing chlorine signal is observed in the UPS spectra for ionic liquids with increasing alkyl chain length. The analysis of the MIES data shows that in case of [OMIm]Cl—in contrast to UPS and XPS—no Cl-induced features are visible in the MIES spectra at all and that the MIES spectra are dominated by the [OMIm]+ alkyl chain.
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