Molecular Thermodynamics of Liquids and Liquid Solutions, in particular, studies of Ionic Liquids and ionic liquid-containing systems constitute the main activity. Other research topics include Isotope Effects, Polymer Solutions, and Metastable Liquids.
Luís Paulo N. Rebelo
Phone (+351) 214469441
Recent years have witnessed the growing importance of ionic liquids – excellent solvents, which are liquid salts at or close to room temperature, and frequently studied as part of the important field of green chemistry. Their study has impacted a wide range of distinct areas, from chemistry to physics, from the environmental to the life sciences. Generally non-flammable and non-volatile, these liquids are easily manipulated in order to engineer distinct chemical functionalities, while offering extraordinary solvent quality and easy recovery. It is these characteristics which have driven the recent development of these salts as alternative clean media for chemical and enzymatic reactions, novel composites, separation and extraction processes, fuel cells, nuclear fuel reprocessing, additives for lubricants, and, more recently, biotechnology and pharmaceutical applications.
After launching our research into the ionic liquids field in 2001, a significant majority of the research of the group has been directed to the study of this novel type of fluids. Since then, some key-pioneering experimental work has been performed both in respect to the thermodynamic characterization of these innovative compounds at a broad range of pressures and temperatures as well as to their solution behaviour. Molecular Simulation began in 2006.
One of the main objectives of our current work is to chart solid and precise background data on the thermodynamic properties of this new class of compounds and their mixtures with other solutes/solvents, and to understand their structure and interactions at a molecular level, which will provide predictive tools for their behaviour. Other objectives include mapping phase diagrams with conventional solvents, polymers or inorganic salts using both laser scattering techniques and common turbidity measurements. The group also focuses on the determination of the isotope effect of solutes and solvents, e.g. water, which impact the liquid-liquid phase diagrams and/or metastable regimes at deep absolute negative pressures. Another challenging and rewarding area of research is located at the interface with the life sciences. Namely, we are highly interested in knowing how toxic and how biodegradable these novel liquid salts are by using selected fungi as model microorganisms. As the fungi come into contact with ionic liquids (ILs), one can observe changes both in the fungi activity itself as well as in the generated metabolites; new compounds, including some with potential medical applications, may result.
- José N. Canongia Lopes, Invited Assistant Professor
- José M.S.S. Esperança, Assistant Researcher
- Isabel M. Marrucho, Assistant Researcher
- Ana B. Pereiro, Post-Doc (Marie Curie Fellowship)
- Magdalena Kowacs, Post-Doc (Marie Curie Fellowship)
- Mohd Tariq, Post-Doc
- Mara Freire, Post-Doc
- Isabel Mota Veiga, Post-Doc
- João M. M. Araújo, Post-Doc
- Rui Ferreira, PhD student
- Marija Petkovic, PhD student
- Helga Garcia, PhD student
- Isabel Martins, PhD student
- Diana Ruivo, PhD student
- Filipe Serrão, PhD student
- Liliana Tomé, PhD student
- Sowmiah Subbiah, PhD student
- Anabela Costa, Researcher
- Mário Soromenho, Researcher
- Filipa Alves, Researcher
- M. J. Earle, J. M.S.S. Esperança, M. A. Gilea, J. N. Canongia Lopes, L. P.N. Rebelo, J. W. Magee, K. R. Seddon, J. A. Widegren, THE DISTILLATION AND VOLATILITY OF IONIC LIQUIDS, Nature (2006), 439, 831-834.
- L.M.N.B.F. Santos, J.N.C. Lopes, J.A.P. Coutinho, J.M.S.S. Esperança, L.R. Gomes, I.M. Marrucho and L.P.N. Rebelo, IONIC LIQUIDS: FIRST DIRECT DETERMINATION OF THEIR COHESIVE ENERGY, J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2007), 129, 284.
- J. Lachwa, J. Szydlowski, V. Najdanovic-Visak, L.P.N. Rebelo, K.R. Seddon, M. Nunes da Ponte, J.M.S.S. Esperança, H.J.R. Guedes, EVIDENCE FOR LOWER CRITICAL SOLUTION BEHAVIOR IN IONIC LIQUID SOUTIONS, J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2005), 127, 6542..
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A pressão exercida sobre o ambiente pela utilização de compostos orgânicos voláteis tem gerado uma onda de impressão negativa sobre a indústria química em geral. Na última década os meios científicos têm assistido a uma literal explosão na investigação de novos solventes alternativos “limpos”, viz. Líquidos Iónicos, que se vêm juntar à área da denominada “Química Verde” onde a água e o dióxido de carbono já reinam. Esta linha de investigação do ITQB estuda e tenta prever as propriedades físicas e termodinâmicas fundamentais destes novos compostos – sais que são líquidos à temperatura ambiente - dos quais se estima poderem vir a existir cerca de um milhão com distintas fórmulas químicas. Esta diversidade permite uma selecção criteriosa de um dado líquido iónico para um fim específico e, por isso, hoje assiste-se ao impacto que estes novos sais têm em áreas tão díspares como, por exemplo, a astronomia e a biofarmacêutica.