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Induction of Point Chirality by E/Z Photoisomerization


  • We thank Dr. Thomas Reji for helpful discussions and Perur Nishad for assistance with the graphics. This work was supported by a grant-in-aid for science research in the priority area “New Frontiers in Photochromism (No. 471)” from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) (Japan).


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Shining a light on it: E/Z photoisomerization generates an asymmetric center and the corresponding separable enantiomers in an azobenzene-based prochiral molecule. This asymmetric center is formed by light-induced changes to the substituents on the central atom, and Z/E thermal isomerization regenerates the initial symmetry in the molecule. This switching of the asymmetry can be performed repeatedly.

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