1 Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, SDU2 MEMPHYS Center, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, SDU3 University of Rochester4 Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, SDU
The ability to encapsulate molecules is one of the outstanding features of nanotubes. The encapsulation alters physical and chemical properties of both nanotubes and guest species. The latter normally form a separate phase, exhibiting drastically different behavior compared to the bulk. Ionic liquids (ILs) and apolar carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are disparate objects; nevertheless, their interaction leads to spontaneous CNT filling with ILs. Moreover, ionic diffusion of highly viscous ILs can increase 5-fold inside CNTs, approaching that of molecular liquids, even though the confined IL phase still contains exclusively ions. We exemplify these unusual effects by computer simulation on a highly hydrophilic, electrostatically structured, and immobile 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride, [C2C1IM][CI]. Self-diffusion constants and energetic properties provide microscopic interpretation of the observed phenomena. Governed by internal energy and entropy rather than external work, the kinetics of CNT filling is characterized in detail The significant growth of the IL mobility induced by nanoscale carbon promises important advances in electricity storage devices.