Langmuir, Vol.37, No.2, 802-809, 2021
Carbon Spacer Strategy: Control the Photoswitching Behavior of Donor-Acceptor Stenhouse Adducts
Understanding the relationship between chemical structure and photoswitching property of donor-acceptor Stenhouse adducts (DASAs) is necessary for developments and applications of the novel photoresponsive molecule. In the current work, we demonstrated a close relationship between the length of carbon spacer and photoswitching property of DASAs. A series of DASAs with barbituric acid substituted electron-withdrawing part and N-methylaniline substituted electron-donating part were synthesized. With shortening the carbon spacer between the phenyl and amine groups in the electron-donating part, the efficiency and rate of the light-induced linear-to-cyclic isomerization are improved in all the test solvents. The molecular energy variation during the isomerization process was investigated by density functional theory calculation to further understand the mechanism. This work provides a reliable carbon spacer strategy to control the photoswitching behavior of DASAs using chemical methods.