The electrochemical oxidation of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium nitrate [C(4)mim][NO3] was studied by cyclic voltammetry in the room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL) 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl) imide [C(2)mim][NTf2]. A sharp peak was observed on a Pt microelectrode (d = 10 mu m), and a diffusion coefficient at infinite dilution of ca. 2.0 x 10(-11) m(2) s(-1) was obtained. Next, the cyclic voltammetry of sodium nitrate (NaNO3) and potassium nitrate (KNO3) was studied, by dissolving small amounts of solid into the RTIL [ C2mim][ NTf2]. Similar oxidation peaks were observed, revealing diffusion coefficients of ca. 8.8 and 9.0 x 10(-12) m(2) s(-1) and solubilities of 11.9 and 10.8 mM for NaNO3 and KNO3, respectively. The smaller diffusion coefficients for NaNO3 and KNO3 (compared to [C(4)mim][NO3]) may indicate that NO3- is ion-paired with Na+ or K+. This work may have applications in the electroanalytical determination of nitrate in RTIL solutions. Furthermore, a reduction feature was observed for both NaNO3 and KNO3, with additional anodic peaks indicating the formation of oxides, peroxides, superoxides and nitrites. This behaviour is surprisingly similar to that obtained from melts of NaNO3 and KNO3 at high temperatures ( ca. 350 - 500 degrees C), and this observation could significantly simplify experimental conditions required to investigate these compounds. We then used X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to suggest that disodium( I) oxide (Na2O), which has found use as a storage compound for hydrogen, was deposited on a Pt electrode surface following the reduction of NaNO3.
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