A Photoswitchable Donor–π-Linker–Acceptor System Based on a Modified Hexatriene Backbone


  • This work was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Xerox Research Centre of Canada, and Simon Fraser University. We are grateful to Nippon Zeon Corporation for supplying the octafluorocyclopentene needed to prepare the photochromic compounds. B. W. thanks the Swiss National Science Foundation for funding.


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Photoresponsive hexatrienes, in which a donor–π-linker–acceptor motif can be reversibly created and broken (see Figure), are synthesized using a versatile approach. Photoinduced ring closing forces a reversible change in hybridization of one of the carbons connecting the donor to the acceptor group, resulting in the breaking of the linear π-conjugation. One particular derivative has interesting electronic properties of potential use in optoelectronics.