Ionic Liquids--Solvents of the Future?

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Science  31 Oct 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5646, pp. 792-793
DOI: 10.1126/science.1090313

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Ionic liquids are composed entirely of ions. Because of the wide range of possible binary and ternary ionic liquids, they offer a potentially wide range of solvent properties. In their Perspective, Rogers and Seddon review recent progress on developing new ionic liquid solvents for use in chemical synthesis, catalysis, fuel cells, and other applications. Ionic liquids are considered advantageous not only because of their versatility but also for their "green" credentials, although it is important to remember that not all ionic liquids are environmentally benign. One industrial process has been reported, and others may not be far behind. The authors conclude that in the next decade, ionic liquids are likely to replace conventional solvents in many applications.