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Annu Rev Phys Chem. 2007;58:613-34.

Isomerization through conical intersections.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Beckman Institute, Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology, and Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


The standard model for photoinduced cis-trans isomerization about carbon double bonds is framed in terms of two electronic states and a one-dimensional reaction coordinate. We review recent work that suggests that a minimal picture of the reaction mechanism requires the consideration of at least two molecular coordinates and three electronic states. In this chapter, we emphasize the role of conical intersections and charge transfer in the photoisomerization mechanism.

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