Light is an exceptional external stimulus for establishing precise control over the properties and functions of chemical and biological systems, which is enabled through the use of molecular photoswitches. Ideal photoswitches are operated with visible light only, show large separation of absorption bands and are functional in various solvents including water, posing an unmet challenge. Here we show a class of fully-visible-light-operated molecular photoswitches, lminothioindoxyls (ITIs) that meet these requirements. ITIs show a band separation of over 100 nm, isomerize on picosecond time scale and thermally relax on millisecond time scale. Using a combination of advanced spectroscopic and computational techniques, we provide the rationale for the switching behavior of ITIs and the influence of structural modifications and environment, including aqueous solution, on their photochemical properties. This research paves the way for the development of improved photo-controlled systems for a wide variety of applications that require fast responsive functions.
- AZOBENZENE PHOTOSWITCHES