Electroreduction of sulfur dioxide in some room-temperature ionic liquids

L.E. Barrosse-Antle, D.S. Silvester, Leigh Aldous, Christopher Hardacre, R.G. Compton

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47 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanism of sulfur dioxide reduction at a platinum microelectrode was investigated by cyclic voltammetry in several room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs)-[C(2)mim][NTf2], [C(4)mim][BF4], [C(4)mim][NO3], [C(4)mim][PF6], and [C(6)mim][Cl] where [C(2)mim] is 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium, [C(4)mim] is 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium, [C(6)mim] is 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium, and [NTf2] is bis(trifluoromethylsufonyl)imide-with special attention paid to [C(4)mim][NO3] because of the well-defined voltammetry, high solubility, and relatively low diffusion coefficient of SO2 obtained in that ionic liquid. A cathodic peak is observed in all RTILs between -2.0 and -1.0 V versus a silver quasi-reference electrode. In [C(4)mim][NO3], the peak appears at -1.0 V, and potential step chronoamperometry was used to determine that SO2 has a very high solubility of 3100 (+/-450) mM and a diffusion coefficient of 5.0 (+/-0.8) x 10(-10) m(2) s(-1) in that ionic liquid. On the reverse wave, up to four anodic peaks are observed at ca. -0.4, -0.3, -0.2, and 0.2 V in [C(4)mim][NO3]. The cathodic wave is assigned to the reduction of SO2 to its radical anion, SO2-center dot. The peaks at -0.4 and -0.2 V are assigned to the oxidation of unsolvated and solvated SO2-center dot, respectively. The peak appearing at 0.2 V is assigned to the oxidation of either S2O42- or S2O4-center dot. The activation energy for the reduction of SO2 in [C(4)mim][NO3] was measured to be 10 (+/-2) kJ mol(-1) using chronoamperometric data at different temperatures. The stabilizing interaction of the solvent with the reduced species SO2-center dot leads to a different mechanism than that observed in conventional aprotic solvents. The high sensitivity of the system to SO2 also suggests that [C(4)mim][NO3] may be a viable solvent in gas sensing applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3398-3404
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Volume112 (9)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 06 Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Energy(all)
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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