Ab initio Car-Parinnello molecular dynamics is used to simulate the structure and the dynamics of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium iodide ([bmim]I) ionic liquid at 300 K. Site-site pair correlation functions reveal that the anion has a strong interaction with any three C-H's of the imidazolium ring. The ring bends over and wraps around the anion such that the two nitrogen atoms take a distance to the anion. Electron donating butyl group contributes the electronic polarization in addition to geometrical (out-of-plane) polarization of the ring due to the liquid environment. This facilitates bending of the ring along the axis passing through nitrogen atoms. The average bending angle depends largely on the alkyl chain length and slightly on the anion type. Redistribution of electron density over the ring caused by the electron donating alkyl group provides additional independent evidence to the instability of lattice structure, hence the low melting point of the ionic liquid. Simulated viscosity and diffusion coefficients of [bmim]I are in quite agreement with the experiments. (c) 2007 American Institute of Physics.
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