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J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Nov 24;132(46):16510-9. doi: 10.1021/ja1062746. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

Ultrafast bidirectional photoswitching of a spiropyran.

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Institut für Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie, Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany.


We report on bidirectional photochemical switching of 6,8-dinitro-1',3',3'-trimethylspiro[2H-1-benzopyran-2,2'-indoline] (6,8-dinitro-BIPS) between the ring-closed spiropyran and the ring-open merocyanine form. This is studied by femtosecond three-color pump-repump-probe experiments. Both ring opening and ring closure are photoinduced. Completion of an entire cycle, consisting of opening and subsequent closure, can be achieved within 40 ps. A much shorter time (<6 ps) is needed for the converse cycle, consisting of initial ring closure and subsequent ring opening. Furthermore, we perform pump-probe experiments with ultraviolet/visible pump and visible/mid-infrared probe pulses for an unambiguous spectroscopic identification of the open and closed molecular forms. Following visible excitation of the ring-open molecules, ultrafast ring closure is observed directly in the mid-infrared. The quantum efficiencies for ring opening and ring closure starting from the respective equilibirum states are determined to be approximately 9% and 40%. These results show that 6,8-dinitro-BIPS is an ultrafast bidirectional molecular switch exhibiting a high quantum efficiency.

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