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Chin. Phys. B, 2020, Vol. 29(4): 047801    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/ab75cd

Refractive index of ionic liquids under electric field: Methyl propyl imidazole iodide and several derivatives

Ji Zhou(周吉)1, Shi-Kui Dong(董士奎)2, Zhi-Hong He(贺志宏)2, Yan-Hu Zhang(张彦虎)3
1 Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics&Electricity, Beijing 100094, China;
2 School of Energy Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China;
3 Advanced Manufacturing&Equipment Institute, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang 212013, China
Abstract  Ionic liquids have received wide attention due to their novel optoelectronic structures and devices as an optical means of regulating electricity. However, the quantitative testing and analysis of refractive index of ionic liquids under electric field are rarely carried out. In the present study, an experimental apparatus including a hollow prism is designed to measure the refractive indices of ionic liquids under different electric fields. Five groups of imidazole ionic liquids are experimentally investigated and an inversion is performed to determine the refractive indices under electric fields. The error propagation analysis of the apex angle and the minimum deflection angle are conducted, and the machining accuracy requirements of the hollow prism are determined. The results show that the refractive indices of imidazole ionic liquids change with the light wavelength, following a downward convex parabola. Furthermore, the refractive index decreases with the carbon chain length of ionic liquid at a given wavelength, presenting an order of C3MImI > C4MImI > C5MImI > C3MImBr > C3MImBF4. Notably, the refractive index of imidazole ionic liquid exhibits a nonlinear change with the applied voltage at 546 nm and a monotonical decrease at 1529 nm. Besides, the variation of refractive index at 1529 nm with the applied voltage is larger than that at 546 nm and 1013 nm. Importantly, the variation of refractive index is contrary to that of absorption coefficient under electric field. This study illustrates that the theory of electrode and carrier transport can be used to explain the law of variation of n-k value of ionic liquid under the electric field, and provides the support for the evaluation of physical properties of ionic liquids, the measurement of optical functional parameters and the regulation of electric-optic performances of optical devices.
Keywords:  ionic liquid      refractive index      electro-optical property      uncertainty propagation analysis  
Received:  10 November 2019      Revised:  08 February 2020      Published:  05 April 2020
PACS:  78.20.Ci (Optical constants (including refractive index, complex dielectric constant, absorption, reflection and transmission coefficients, emissivity)) (Solutions and ionic liquids)  
  78.20.Jq (Electro-optical effects)  
  33.57.+c (Magneto-optical and electro-optical spectra and effects)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51576054 and 51705210) and the Jiangsu Provincial Planned Projects for Postdoctoral Research Funds, China (Grant No. 2019K195).
Corresponding Authors:  Yan-Hu Zhang     E-mail:

Cite this article: 

Ji Zhou(周吉), Shi-Kui Dong(董士奎), Zhi-Hong He(贺志宏), Yan-Hu Zhang(张彦虎) Refractive index of ionic liquids under electric field: Methyl propyl imidazole iodide and several derivatives 2020 Chin. Phys. B 29 047801

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