Photochemical Z to E Isomerization of a Hemithioindigo/Hemistilbene omega-Amino Acid
The molecule HTI, which combines hemithioindigo and hemistilbene molecular parts, allows reversible switching between two isomeric states. Photochromic behaviour of the HTI molecule is observed by irradiation with UV/Vis light. The photochemical reaction, a Z/E isomerization around the central double bond connecting the two molecular parts, is investigated by transient absorption and emission spectroscopy. For a special HTI molecule, namely, an omega-amino acid, the Z!E isomerization process occurs on a timescale of 30 ps. In the course of the reaction fast processes on the 1–10 ps timescale are observed which point to motions of the molecule on the potential-energy surface of the excited state. The combination of transient absorption experiments in the visible spectral range with time-resolved fluorescence and infrared measurements reveal a photochemical pathway with three intermediate states. Together with a theoretical modelling procedure the experiments point to a sequential reaction scheme and give indications of the nature of the involved intermediates.