Busch, M.; Hofmann, T.; Frick, B.; Embs, J.P.; Dyatkin, B.; Huber, P.: Ionic liquid dynamics in nanoporous carbon: A pore-size- and temperature-dependent neutron spectroscopy study on supercapacitor materials. Physical Review Materials 4 (2020), p. 055401/1-12
Open Access Version

The influence of spatial confinement on the thermally excited stochastic cation dynamics of the room- temperature ionic liquid 1-N-butylpyridinium bis-[(trifluoromethyl)sulfonyl]imide ([BuPy][Tf2N]) inside porous carbide-derived carbons with various pore sizes in the sub- to a few nanometer range is investigated by quasielastic neutron spectroscopy. Using the potential of fixed window scans, i.e., scanning a sample parameter, while observing solely one specific energy transfer value, an overview of the dynamic landscape within a wide temperature range is obtained. It is shown that already these data provide a quite comprehensive understanding of the confinement-induced alteration of the molecular mobility in comparison to the bulk. A complementary, more detailed analysis of full energy transfer spectra at selected temperatures reveals two translational diffusive processes on different time scales. Both are considerably slower than in the bulk liquid and show a decrease of the respective self-diffusion coefficients with decreasing nanopore size. Different thermal activation energies for molecular self-diffusion in nanoporous carbons with similar pore size indicate the importance of pore morphology on the molecular mobility, beyond the pure degree of confinement. In spite of the dynamic slowing down we can show that the temperature range of the liquid state upon nanoconfinement is remarkably extended to much lower temperatures, which is beneficial for potential technical applications of such systems.