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Chemistry. 2011 Dec 9;17(50):14111-9. doi: 10.1002/chem.201101717. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

Solid-state photochromism of chromenes: enhanced photocoloration and observation of unstable colored species at low temperatures.

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  • 1Department of Basic Science, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan.


Solid-state photochromism of benzopyrans and naphthopyrans (chromenes) was investigated in the temperature range between 300 and 80 K. Variable-temperature diffuse reflectance spectroscopy of microcrystalline powders showed that the extent of photocoloration was greatly enhanced at low temperatures. All the chromenes examined exhibited solid-state photochromism at low temperatures, even when they showed little or no photocoloration at room temperature. The solid-state photochromic properties of the chromenes were quite similar to those reported for analogous photochromic compounds of spiropyrans and spirooxazines, which indicates that these classes of compounds are generally photochromic even in the solid state. Photobleaching reactions of the colored merocyanine forms proceeded at low temperatures through the formation of a colorless intermediate, instead of directly resuming the original closed form. In addition to two stable planar merocyanine forms, which are usually observed in the photochromic reactions in solution, photoreactions at low temperatures allowed us to observe unstable colored species, which were tentatively assigned as nonplanar cisoid forms, and were stabilized in the solid state at low temperatures.

Copyright © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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