We review the basic ideas underlying the electron free energy level diagrams that have been found useful in considering the thermodynamics of redox processes in molten silicates and related high temperature ionic liquid (IL) solvents, and then show how closely they link to behavior observable in ambient temperature ionic liquids. Much of the information available on redox levels in molten oxides has been gleaned from chemical analysis and spectroscopic species distribution studies, but it is simpler to obtain the data electrochemically. Here, we report some cyclic voltammetry measurements of the Fe(II)Fe(III) redox equilibrium in aprotic ionic liquids whose anions provide oxide environments for the redox species that are of different electronic polarizability character from the high temperature solvents, and relate the observations to those of the earlier studies. Quasi-reversible behavior is found in each of the cases studied. As might be expected, the Fe(II)Fe(III) equilibrium experiences a more basic environment in an acetate IL than it experiences in any of the common glassforming oxide media, while triflate anions contrast by providing a more acid environment than does the most acid of the molten oxide glassformers studied (an alkali phosphate). The difference can amount to well over 1 V, suggesting the possibility of a basicity cell where the same redox couple locates in anode and cathode compartments of the cell, and only the anion environment is different.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry