The results of a systematic molecular dynamics study of the interfacial structure between the gold (100) surface and two room-temperature ionic liquids, namely, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate ([BMIm][PF6]) and 1-butyl-3-methylimadazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide ([BMIm][NTf2]), are herein reported. It is found that near an uncharged surface the IL structure differs from its bulk, having an enhanced density extended until the two first layers. Interfacial layering is clearly observed at the gold surface, with a higher effect for the [BMIm][NTf2] IL but a higher packing for [BMIm][PF6]. In both ILs the alkyl side chains are oriented parallel to the interface while the imidazolium rings tend to be parallel to the interface in about 60% of the cases. The presence of the interface has a higher impact on the orientation of the cations than on the chemical properties of the counterion. The surface potential drop across the interface is more pronounced toward a negative value for ([BMIm][PF6]) than for ([BMIm][NTf2]), due to relatively larger local density of the anions for ([BMIm][PF6]) near the gold surface.
Elisabete S. C. Ferreira†‡, Carlos M. Pereira*‡, M. Natália D. S. Cordeiro*†, and Daniel J. V. A. dos Santos*† Molecular Dynamics Study of the Gold/Ionic Liquids Interface
†LAQV@REQUIMTE/‡CIQUP, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal