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Keywords:

  • Alkenes;
  • Conical intersections;
  • Isomerizations;
  • Photochemistry;
  • Reaction mechanisms

Abstract

What is the standard course of the cistrans isomerization of nonpolar polyenes? Many results support a pathway in which only a central CH group rotates out of the plane, while the remaining parts of the molecule reorient within the plane (“hula-twist” mechanism). The intermediate structure through which the molecule passes corresponds to the geometry predicted for the conical intersection of the S1 and S0 potential energy surfaces (see picture).