2020-07-07Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/22119
Proton‐Gated Ring‐Closure of a Negative Photochromic Azulene‐Based Diarylethene
Proton‐responsive photochromic molecules are attractive for their ability to react on non‐invasive rapid optical stimuli and the importance of protonation/deprotonation processes in various fields. Conventionally, their acidic/basic sites are on hetero‐atoms, which are orthogonal to the photo‐active π‐center. Here, we incorporate azulene, an acid‐sensitive pure hydrocarbon, into the skeleton of a diarylethene‐type photoswitch. The latter exhibits a novel proton‐gated negative photochromic ring‐closure and its optical response upon protonation in both open and closed forms is much more pronounced than those of diarylethene photoswitches with hetero‐atom based acidic/basic moieties. The unique behavior of the new photoswitch can be attributed to direct protonation on its π‐system, supported by 1H NMR and theoretical calculations. Our results demonstrate the great potential of integrating non‐alternant hydrocarbons into photochromic systems for the development of multi‐responsive molecular switches.