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Study of the interfacial properties of ionic liquids at smooth and nanostructured solid surfaces

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The knowledge of the structural properties of ILs at interfaces, in particular with solid surfaces, is directly relevant for those applications where ILs are employed in form of thin films supported on solid surfaces, such as in microelectromechanical or microelectronic devices.

A better understanding of the behavior of ILs at interfaces can be achieved studying systems where the surface to volume ratio is very large, as in very thin supported films. At the time of our first publication (2009), this was a largely unexplored field, since most studies were conducted on systems where a bulk amount of IL was present right above, or below, the interface.

The results of our studies, supported in recent years by those of other groups, suggest that at the liquid/solid interface ILs are driven by surface interactions through a liquidlike-to-solidlike transition, which also leads to an electrically insulating behaviour.

We are currently exploring similar phenomena at nanostructured interfaces, produced by supersonic cluster beam deposition.

Referent: Alessandro Podestà

Participants: Francesca Borghi, Massimiliano Galluzzi, Simone Bovio