Electrochemical studies in room temperature ionic liquids are often hampered by their relatively high viscosity. However, in some circumstances, fast exchange between participating electroactive species has provided beneficial enhancement of charge transport. The iodide (I(-))/iodine (I(2))/triiodide (I(3)(-)) redox system that introduces exchange via the I(-) + I(2) reversible arrow I(3)(-) process is a well documented example because it is used as a redox mediator in dye-sensitized solar cells. To provide enhanced understanding of ion movement in RTIL media, a combined electrochemical and NMR study of diffusion in the SeCN(-)-(SeCN)(2)-(SeCN)(3)(-) system has been undertaken in a; selection of commonly used RTILs. In this system, each of the Se, C and N nuclei is NMR active. The electrochemical behavior of the pure ionic liquid, [C(4)mim][SeCN], which is synthesized and characterized here for the first time, also has been investigated. Voltammetric studies, which yield readily interpreted diffusion-limited responses under steady-state conditions by means of a Random Assembly of Microdisks (RAM) microelectrode array, have been used to measure electrochemically based diffusion coefficients, while self-diffusion coefficients were measured by pulsed field gradient NMR methods. The diffusivity data, derived from concentration and field gradients respectively, are in good agreement. The NMR data reveal that exchange processes occur between selenocyanate species, but the voltammetric data show the rates of exchange are too slow to enhance charge transfer. Thus, a comparison of the iodide and selenocyanate systems is somewhat paradoxical in that while the latter give RTILs of low viscosity, sluggish exchange kinetics prevent any significant enhancement of charge transfer through direct electron exchange. In contrast, faster exchange between iodide and its oxidation products leads to substantial electron exchange but this effect does not compensate sufficiently for mass transport limitations imposed by the higher viscosity of iodide RTILs.
Solangi, A., Bond, A., Burgar, M. I., Hollenkamp, A., Horne, M., Ruther, T., & Zhao, C. (2011). Comparison of diffusivity data derived from electrochemical and NMR investigations of the SeCN-/(SeCN)2/(SeCN)3- system in ionic liquids. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 115(21), 6843 - 6852. https://doi.org/10.1021/jp111977q