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Ionic Liquids—An Overview

Stewart A. Forsyth, Jennifer M. Pringle, Douglas R. MacFarlane

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Ionic liquids have become an increasingly popular class of solvent in the last decade as the potential applications of these materials become more diverse. Rather than being viewed simply as replacement for conventional organic solvent media, research into ionic liquids has progressed to the deliberate choice and design of these materials for reasons of improved rate, specificity, and yield. Design of ionic liquids centres on the development of novel cations and anions to impart the specific physical properties required for each application. Therefore, the materials being synthesized and studied are also becoming increasingly complex and diverse. Here we provide an overview of ionic liquids generally, and some of their current applications, as well as an introduction to some of the new cations and anions that have been developed for specific properties.