Kinetic analysis of the thermal isomerisation pathways in an asymmetric double azobenzene switch

Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics : PCCP
Jort RobertusBen L Feringa


Here we report a photochemical and kinetic study of the thermal relaxation reaction of a double azobenzene system, in which two azobenzene photochromic units are connected via a phenyl ring. Upon UV irradiation, three thermally unstable isomers are formed. Kinetic studies using arrayed (1)H-NMR spectroscopy revealed four distinct barriers for the thermal reversion to the stable isomer. The double isomerised Z,Z-2 can revert thermally to the E,E-2 isomer via either of two isomerisation pathways. The thermal Z to E isomerisations are not significantly affected by the state of the neighbouring azo-switching unit in the meta position. These findings are supported by quantum chemical calculations on the thermal Z to E isomerisation.


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