Ionic liquids: a new green chemical revolution1








Organic chemists in academia and industry are excited about the prospect of a new green chemical revolution based on ionic liquids that could dramatically reduce the use of hazardous and polluting organic solvents.

At the first major U.S. meeting on ionic liquids, which was held at the American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego in April 2001, speakers said that:

"...the move to ionic liquids represents a major milestone in chemistry."
"Ionic liquids mean that organic chemistry has entered the 21st century. Things will never be the same again"
Ken Seddon, chair of Inorganic chemistry and a Clean Technology Fellow at the Queen's University of Belfast, in Northen Ireland.

The growing importance of ionic liquids (ILs) is manifested by the rapidly increasing rate at which papers on the topic are being published. Besides, the fact that many of the initial discoveries have been patented rather than released in the open literature is a measure of their industrial potential.7

For the sake of those readers not familiar with ionic liquids, suffice it to say that ionic liquids are salts that are liquid at low temperature - many at room temperature or below - and that in a molten form are composed wholly of ions.2

So why all the fuss about salts
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