Ionic liquids (ILs) are organic salts of low melting points with a wide range of liquidus temperature and intrinsically useful characteristics of negligible vapour pressure, thermal stability, high ionic conductivity and a large electrochemical window. As a green recyclable alternative to traditional organic solvents, the ILs have shown promise in the liquid/liquid extraction of organics from water and metal ions from solution, and separating isomeric organic compounds, selective catalytic processes for organic chemical reactions and solar cells and other electrochemical devices. In recent years, the advantages of the ILs in inorganic nanomaterial synthetic procedures have been realized and received more and more attention. In this brief review, the latest developments regarding the use of the IL as reaction medium for inorganic nanomaterials are outlined, mainly focused on (1) the preorganized structure of the IL as template effect for porous inorganic nanomaterials and (2) the intrinsic high charge and polarizability of the IL to create electrostatic and steric stabilization for metal nanoparticles and to favor phase transfer of the nanoparticles from water to water-immiscible solvent.
Nanoarchitectonics Research Center (NARC), Tsukuba Center 5, Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 1-1-1 Higashi, Tsukuba, Japan.