Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Claudio J. Margulis

First Committee Member

Claudios J Margulis

Second Committee Member

Amnon Kohen

Third Committee Member

Christopher M Cheatum

Fourth Committee Member

Lei Geng

Fifth Committee Member

Adrian Elcock


In this thesis, we report on our studies of the transport properties, optical response and slow dynamical nature of novel room temperature ionic liquids. Using computer simulations we have demonstrated that the diffusive dynamics of these systems is in many ways analogous to that of other glassy or supercooled liquids. These solvents show non-Gaussian rotational and translational diffusion which have a temporal extent on the order of nanoseconds at room temperature. Our study of their response upon application of an external mechanical perturbation shows that even for systems with a box length as large as 0.03 microns the viscosities computed from perturbation wavenumbers compatible with this box size have not yet reached the hydrodynamic limit. We found these systems to behave in a non-Newtonian fashion and we also observe a clear break down of linear response theory on the nano- or sub-micrometer scale.

Upon photoexcitation of an organic probe with lifetime shorter than the reorganization timescale in these ionic liquids, (which is quite long on the order of several nanoseconds at least), the emission spectrum is absorption wavelength dependent.Our computer simulations rationalized this observation in terms of local solvent environment around individual subensemble probe members. Excitation of different solute molecules in the liquid gives rise to site-specic optical responses. We revealed that the origin of this excitation wavelength dependence is the existence of persistent excited-state environments that do not get solvent averaged on a time scale relevant to fluorescence. The computed time resolved fluorescence spectra show that the full loss of correlation between absorption and emission frequencies for probes in room temperature ionic liquids occur on a time scale of nanoseconds.

One of the most interesting features of ionic liquids is their uncommonly large range of dynamical time scales which in turn makes some of their properties to be quite different from that of most other conventional solvents. We hope that our understanding of these phenomena will be useful in the future in the development of tools to harness their potential to control the outcome of chemical and photo-chemical reactions.


Statistical Mechanics, Chemical Physics, Theoretical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Condensed Matter Physics


x, 242 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 236-242).


Copyright 2007 Zhonghan Hu

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