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Keywords:

  • azo compounds;
  • biocompatibility;
  • molecular switches;
  • nanosecond flash photolysis;
  • photoisomerization
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

When speed is of the essence: After photoisomerization to its metastable cis form, an azo dye must undergo fast thermal isomerization back to the trans form to be suitable for real-time information transmission. The azopyrimidine shown has a relaxation time (τ) of just 40 ns under physiological conditions, as well as high biocompatibility, as determined by Escherichia coli growth in its presence (see picture).