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Photochromism of diarylethene molecules and crystals

By Masahiro IRIE


Photochromism is defined as a reversible transformation of a chemical species between two isomers upon photoirradiation. Although vast numbers of photochromic molecules have been so far reported, photochromic molecules which exhibit thermally irreversible photochromic reactivity are limited to a few examples. The thermal irreversibility is an indispensable property for the application of photochromic molecules to optical memories and switches. We have developed a new class of photochromic molecules named “diarylethenes”, which show the thermally irreversible photochromic reactivity. The well designed diarylethene derivatives provide outstanding photochromic performance: both isomers are thermally stable for more than 470,000 years, photoinduced coloration/decoloration can be repeated more than 105 cycles, the quantum yield of cyclization reaction is close to 1 (100%), and the response times of both coloration and decoloration are less than 10 ps. This review describes theoretical background of the photochromic reactions, color changes of the derivatives in solution as well as in the single crystalline phase, and application of the crystals to light-driven actuators

Topics: Review
Publisher: The Japan Academy
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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