Journal of chemical sciences vol:121 issue:1 pages:7-21
This article describes our ongoing efforts to comprehend the role of specific interactions on the dynamical processes such as rotational diffusion and photoisomerization in a typical room temperature ionic liquid. Rotational diffusion studies carried out with a pair of structurally similar non-dipolar solutes indicate that organic solutes do experience strong specific interactions even with the highly associative ionic liquids such that their rotation is hindered. Similar measurements carried out with a non-polar and a dipolar solute in an ionic liquid and a conventional solvent reveal that even in ionic liquids, apart from the viscosity of the medium, the important parameters, which govern the solute rotation are the solvent-size and free volume in case of non-polar solutes, whereas for charged and dipolar solutes, it is the solute-solvent interaction strength. Photoisomerization studies dealing with a pair of carbocyanine derivatives have shed light on the influence of solvent viscosity and specific interactions on the rates of photoisomerization. Our results point to the fact that the positively charged as well as the negatively charged cyanine derivatives do not experience specific interactions with the ionic liquid such that the isomerization rates are affected. However, when the isomerization rates are compared with a conventional isoviscous solvent, it has been noticed that the rates of isomerization are solely governed by viscosity of the medium in case of the positively charged cyanine derivative. In contrast, photoisomerization rates of the negatively charged cyanine derivative are significantly faster in a conventional isoviscous solvent compared to the ionic liquid due to the specific interactions between the solute and the former, which lower the barrier height for isomerization.