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Keywords:

  • conformational analysis;
  • density functional calculations;
  • electron diffraction;
  • laser desorption;
  • photochromism
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Anfractuous paths: Electron diffraction reveals the involvement of multiple structures in the complex photochemistry of photoswitchable nitro-substituted 1,3,3-trimethylindolinobenzospiropyran. The spiropyran-to-merocyanine isomerization due to ring opening produces primarily the cis–trans–cis structure (see picture; red O, blue N, yellow C), while competing nonradiative pathways lead to other structures, namely the closed forms in their triplet and singlet ground states.