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This content will become publicly available on December 20, 2022

Title: In situ nanoscale evaluation of pressure-induced changes in structural morphology of phosphonium phosphate ionic liquid at single-asperity contacts
In this work, we perform atomic force microscopy (AFM) experiments to evaluate in situ the dependence of the structural morphology of trihexyltetradecylphosphonium bis(2-ethylhexyl) phosphate ([P 6,6,6,14 ][DEHP]) ionic liquid (IL) on applied pressure. The experimental results obtained upon sliding a diamond-like-carbon-coated silicon AFM tip on mechanically polished steel at an applied pressure up to 5.5 ± 0.3 GPa indicate a structural transition of confined [P 6,6,6,14 ][DEHP] molecules. This pressure-induced morphological change of [P 6,6,6,14 ][DEHP] IL leads to the generation of a lubricious, solid-like interfacial layer, whose growth rate increases with applied pressure and temperature. The structural variation of [P 6,6,6,14 ][DEHP] IL is proposed to derive from the well-ordered layering of the polar groups of ions separated by the apolar tails. These results not only shed new light on the structural organization of phosphonium-based ILs under elevated pressure, but also provide novel insights into the normal pressure-dependent lubrication mechanisms of ILs in general.
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
RSC Advances
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
413 to 419
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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