Monoenergetic source of kilodalton ions from Taylor cones of ionic liquids

C. Larriba, S. Castro, J. Fernandez De La Mora, P. Lozano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The ionic liquid ion sources (ILISs) recently introduced by Lozano and Martinez Sanchez [J. Colloid Interface Sci. 282, 415 (2005)], based on electrochemically etched tungsten tips as emitters for Taylor cones of ionic liquids (ILs), have been tested with ionic liquids [A+ B-] of increasing molecular weight and viscosity. These ILs have electrical conductivities well below 1 Sm and were previously thought to be unsuitable to operate in the purely ionic regime because their Taylor cones produce mostly charged drops from conventional capillary tube sources. Strikingly, all the ILs tried on ILIS form charged beams composed exclusively of small ions and cluster ions A+ (AB)n or B- (AB)n, with abundances generally peaking at n=1. Particularly interesting are the positive and negative ion beams produced from the room temperature molten salts 1-methyl-3-pentylimidazolium tris(pentafluoroethyl) trifluorophosphate (C5 MI- (C2 F5) 3 P F3) and 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(pentafluoroethyl) sulfonylimide (EMI- (C2 F5 S O3) 2 N). We extend to these heavier species the previous conclusions from Lozano and Martinez Sanchez on the narrow energy distributions of the ion beams. In combination with suitable ILs, this source yields nanoamphere currents of positive and negative monoenergetic molecular ions with masses exceeding 2000 amu. Potential applications are in biological secondary ion mass spectrometry, chemically assisted high-resolution ion beam etching, and electrical propulsion. Advantages of the ILISs versus similar liquid metal ion sources include the possibility to form negative as well as positive ion beams and a much wider range of ion compositions and molecular masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084303
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Dr. I. G. Loscertales (Malaga), Dr. Y. Yoshida (Kyoto), and Dr. M. Martinez-Sanchez (MIT), for their contributions to various aspects of this project. Our work has been possible through funding from the AFOSR via Yale Grant No. FA-9550-06-1-0104, as well as through several subcontracts from AFOSR contracts to the companies Busek and Connecticut Analytical.


Dive into the research topics of 'Monoenergetic source of kilodalton ions from Taylor cones of ionic liquids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this