At present, ionic liquids (ILs) are playing a more and more important role in organic
synthesis as green catalysts and solvents. At the same time, researchers from both academia
and industry have great interests in the related application of new ILs with unique
structural features. Many neutral and acidic ionic liquids were used to catalyze condensation
and esterification processes, which are two important reactions in fine chemical, material,
energy and pharmaceutical industry. Compared with traditional catalysts, these ionic liquids
have shown special advantages and potential due to their ideal catalytic performance and the
unusual characteristics. For instance, temperature-sensitive ILs can automatically form a liquid-solid two phase system so it can be recovered easily from the reaction system after the
synthetic process is completed, and the advantages of heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis
can be achieved simultaneously. On the basis of our recent study and latest development, the paper reviews
the current application and related catalysis mechanism of ILs in above reactions in detail, especially for
those with new structures. Moreover, the development trend and challenges in the further use of ILs are also discussed.
It is expected to provide meaningful reference for involved researchers.
Keywords: Ionic liquids, catalysts, application, condensation, esterification, prospects.
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