Elucidating the Structure, Dynamics, and Interaction of a Choline Chloride and Citric Acid Based Eutectic System by Spectroscopic and Molecular Modeling Investigations


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Document Type


Publication Date



Eutectic solvent systems are versatile solvents that have found widespread use in numerous applications. Traditional solvents are homogeneous, having only one component, and their chemistry is relatively simple, with some exceptions. On the other hand, deep eutectic solvents (DESs) comprise binary components, generally a donor and an acceptor in hydrogen bonding with varying ratios. The interaction chemistry among the donor and acceptor involved in hydrogen bonding in DESs is complicated. Although numerous research is focused on the synthesis and application of DESs, few studies are reported to elucidate the complex structure and dynamic and interaction behavior of DESs. In this study, we employed calorimetry, vibrational spectroscopy techniques including FTIR and Raman, and nuclear magnetic resonance to derive insight into the structural feature and noncovalent contact of choline chloride (ChCl) and citric acid (CA) while they formed DESs. The 1:1 ChCl/CA eutectic system showed phase transitions and melting peaks with the most pronounced peak at 156.22 °C, suggesting the DESs melting at a lower temperature than the melting temperatures of ChCl and CA. In addition to IR and Raman findings, 1H NMR investigations demonstrate hydrogen bonding intermolecular interactions between ChCl and CA, supporting the formation of 1:1 ChCl/CA DESs based on the deshielded chemical shifts of the proton for Ch. The interaction of the chloride anion with the methyl protons (H4) and methylene protons (H3) of ChCl as well as the strong hydrogen bonding interactions between the hydroxyl hydrogen (H1) of ChCl with one of CA’s carbonyl oxygens both supported the formation of conformer E. In addition, molecular dynamics followed by the density functional theory (DFT) was employed to visualize the structure and interaction of DESs using the ωB97XD theory and 6-311++G (d,p) basis set. Both experimental and theoretical IR, Raman, and structural analyses provided evidence of the formation of DESs by possessing hydrogen bonds. These multifaceted experimental and computational investigations provide details of structural and intermolecular interactions of ChCl/CA DESs.

Journal Title

ACS Omega

Journal ISSN


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)