Investigation on Gold Dissolution Performance and Mechanism in Imidazolium Cyanate Ionic Liquids

Zhang, Na
Zhang, Yuxin
Liu, Zhengyu
Liu, Ziyuan
Sun, Chunbao
Altun, Naci Emre
Kou, Jue
To explore green gold leaching reagents, a series of imidazolium cyanate ionic liquids (ILs), 1-ethyl-3-methyl-imidazolium cyanate ([C2MIM][OCN]), 1-propyl-3-methyl-imidazolium cyanate ([C3MIM][OCN]) and 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolcyanate ([C4MIM][OCN]) were synthesized and characterized by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and thermogravimetric (TG) analysis. In this research, the imidazolium cyanates were utilized as a solute, which not only decreased the usage of ILs but also increased their gold dissolution capability. The gold dissolution performances of three imidazolium cyanates were characterized by dynamic leaching test and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The results show that the all three imidazolium cyanates had a gold dissolution ability, and the shorter the carbon chain on the imidazole ring in imidazolium cyanate, the faster the gold dissolution rate. The gold dissolution performance of [C2MIM][OCN] was the best, and the weight loss of gold leaf was 2.9 mg/cm2 at 40 °C after 120 h dissolution in [C2MIM][OCN] mixed with 10 wt. % water. Besides this, the gold dissolution rate increased with the increase in the concentration of imidazolium cyanates as well as the reaction temperature. The gold dissolution performances of imidazolium cyanates in different solvents including water, acetonitrile, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and dimethylformamide (DMF) were also investigated, and the weaker the polarity of the solvent, the more conducive it was to the gold dissolution reaction. The mechanism of gold dissolution by imidazolium cyanates was investigated through NMR spectroscopy and Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (ESI-MS). It was inferred that during the process of gold dissolution, Au was oxidized to Au+ and the imidazolium cations were deprotonated to form N-heterocyclic carbenes, which coordinated with gold to form gold complexes and achieve gold dissolution.
Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)
Citation Formats
N. Zhang et al., “Investigation on Gold Dissolution Performance and Mechanism in Imidazolium Cyanate Ionic Liquids,” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 0–0, 2024, Accessed: 00, 2024. [Online]. Available: