1,2-Bis[N-(N′-alkylimidazolium)]ethane salts: A new class of organic ionic plastic crystals

Minjae Lee, U. Hyeok Choi, Sungsool Wi, Carla Slebodnick, Ralph H. Colby, Harry W. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


A new class of organic ionic plastic crystals was discovered. A series of alkylene 1,2-bis[N-(N′-alkylimidazolium)] salts with Br - and PF 6 - anions was prepared and most of the ethylene (C 2 ) linked compounds undergo multiple solid-solid phase transitions as determined by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The salts with longer spacers (C 3 or C 4 ) between the imidazolium units do not display any solid-solid transitions. The PF 6 - salts with terminal C 10 and C 12 n-alkyl moieties are "classical" organic ionic plastic crystals by Timmermans' definition; they have low ΔS f (11 J K -1 mol -1 for C 10 and 12 J K -1 mol -1 for C 12 ). Additionally, the C 2 linked bis-imidazolium salts with n-butyl, n-hexyl, n-heptyl and n-octyl termini all undergo two, three or four solid state transitions and exhibit ΔS f values in the range of 36-49 J K -1 mol -1 , which are similar to those of other known ionic plastic crystalline materials. These materials were additionally characterized via ionic conductivity and solid state NMR. These ionic plastic crystals are presumably single-ion conductors, but the ionic conductivities appear to be too low for practical applications. The activation energy for conduction decreases as these compounds are heated through each solid-solid transition. The lack of any change in solid state 2 H NMR spectra with temperature indicates that there is no change in phenyl ring flipping, suggesting no change in the imidazolium local environment. A resolution of this apparent dichotomy is perhaps that the counterions reside with the ethylene spacers between imidazolium moieties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12280-12287
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - Sep 7 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Chemistry

Cite this