Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.139, No.28, 9447-9450, 2017
Spectrally Resolved Super-Resolution Microscopy Unveils Multipath Reaction Pathways of Single Spiropyran Molecules
By recording both the images and emission spectra of thousands of single fluorescent molecules stochastically generated from the ring-opening reaction of a spiropyran, we provide mechanistic insights into its multipath reaction pathways. Through statistics of the measured single-molecule spectra, we identify two spectrally distinct isomers, presumably TTC and TTT cis-trans isomers, for the open-ring merocyanine product, and discover a strong solvent polarity-dependence for the relative population of the two isomers. From single molecule spectral time traces, we further examine isomerization between the two product merocyanine isomers, as well as their ring-closure reaction back to the spiropyran form.