Structural Study at the Gas-Liquid Interface of 1-Alkyl-3-Methylimidazolium Alkylsulfates Using Surface Potential Measurements



Sum frequency generation, surface potential, and surface tension measurements have been combined on the pure ionic-liquid–gas interface for 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium alkylsulfate ionic liquids. The results show that surface potential of the ionic liquid generally increases as the alkyl chain on the cation or anion increases in length. This is due to the increased ordering of the surface dipole, mostly coming from the terminal methyl group of the alkyl chain. Both sum frequency generation spectroscopy and surface potential measurements suggest that the charged components, that is, the aromatic ring and the sulfate, occupy nearly the same plane at the surface for all ionic liquids studied herein.