The journal of physical chemistry letters

Differential Microscopic Mobility of Components within a Deep Eutectic Solvent.

PMID 26267182


From macroscopic measurements of deep eutectic solvents such as glyceline (1:2 molar ratio of choline chloride to glycerol), the long-range translational diffusion of the larger cation (choline) is known to be slower compared to that of the smaller hydrogen bond donor (glycerol). However, when the diffusion dynamics are analyzed on the subnanometer length scale, we find that the displacements associated with the localized diffusive motions are actually larger for choline. This counterintuitive diffusive behavior can be understood as follows. The localized diffusive motions confined in the transient cage of neighbor particles, which precede the cage-breaking long-range diffusion jumps, are more spatially constrained for glycerol than for choline because of the stronger hydrogen bonds the former makes with chloride anions. The implications of such differential localized mobility of the constituents should be especially important for applications where deep eutectic solvents are confined on the nanometer length scale and their long-range translational diffusion is strongly inhibited (e.g., within microporous media).