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Direct Structural Determination of Conformations of Photoswitchable Molecules by Laser Desorption–Electron Diffraction

Authors

  • Andreas Gahlmann,

    1. Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology, Arthur Amos Noyes Laboratory of Chemical Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (USA)
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  • I-Ren Lee,

    1. Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology, Arthur Amos Noyes Laboratory of Chemical Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (USA)
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  • Ahmed H. Zewail Prof.

    1. Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology, Arthur Amos Noyes Laboratory of Chemical Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (USA)
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  • This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in the Gordon and Betty Moore Center of Physical Biology at Caltech.

Abstract

original image

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.

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