Carbon Nanomaterials and Ionic Liquids: From Fundamentals to Applications in Sustainable Technologies

CLINT is an international project funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, involving research groups from France and Portugal:

  • Ionic Liquids group (PI prof. Agilio Padua) and Fluorinated Materials group (PI prof. Marc Dubois) from the Institut de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand, France.
  • Organometallic Surface Chemistry group (PI res. prof. Catherine Santini) from the Chimie Catalyse Polymères Procédés lab, Lyon, France.
  • Statistical Mechanics and Experimental Thermodynamics group (PI prof. José Nuno Canongia Lopes) from Centro de Química Estrutural, IST, Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Molecular Thermodynamics group (PI prof. Luis Paulo Rebelo) from ITQB, Oeiras, Portugal.

Project Summary

Zero, one and two-­dimensional carbon nanomaterials are at the scientific forefront in nanotechnology, materials science, and electronic, electrochemical or optical devices, to name just a few potential and present applications. Many of the chemical and physical processes involving carbon nanomaterials could benefit from solution-­phase methods for synthesis, preparation, purification or transfer onto substrates. But the exfoliation of nanotubes or grapheme sheets, and their stabilization in suspensions are still not sufficiently well understood in terms of the fundamental concepts of colloidal and interfacial physical chemistry, thus hindering the development of large-­scale applications. In electrochemical devices, the liquid phases of interest are ionic, either aqueous or organic electrolytes. Conventional media are not necessarily appropriate for promising designs of fuel cells and solar cells. Here, room-temperature ionic liquids have a number of advantages, such as high ionic density, chemical and thermal stability, non-­volatility, large electrochemical window and recyclability.

The main objective of this proposal is to improve the current understanding of the interfaces between ionic liquids and carbon nano-­objects, opening possibilities for application of these promising materials and solvents. Efficient use requires the establishment of relations between the molecular structure and interactions, and resulting properties. This project combines experimental studies of synthesis and physico-chemical characterisation with theoretical methods of quantum chemistry and molecular dynamics simulation.