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Keywords:

  • ω-amino azobenzenecarboxylic acids;
  • azobenzene;
  • biophysical properties;
  • conformational switches;
  • cyclic peptides;
  • photoisomerization;
  • synthesis

Abstract:  Over the last decades azobenzene has been the most widely used optical trigger for the synthesis of photoresponsive systems ranging from poly-α-amino acids to innovative materials with light-controlled mechanical and optical properties. More recently, its use in form of appropriate derivatives allowed to generate cyclic peptide structures of constraint conformational space and thus to exploit its reversible photoisomerization to induce well defined transitions between different conformational states. These can be characterized in detail in both photostationary states making such systems ideal substrates for ultrafast spectroscopic analysis of conformational transitions. Moreover, the changes in biophysical properties that occur as a consequence of the different conformational states can be exploited for a photo-control of a large variety of molecular recognition processes.