American Chemical Society
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Building Strain with Large Macrocycles and Using It To Tune the Thermal Half-Lives of Hydrazone Photochromes

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posted on 2018-08-22, 00:00 authored by Quan Li, Hai Qian, Baihao Shao, Russell P. Hughes, Ivan Aprahamian
Strain has been used as a tool to modulate the reactivity (e.g., mechanochemistry) and thermal isomerization kinetics of photochromic compounds. Macrocyclization is used to build-up strain in such systems, and in general the reactivity and rates increase with the decrease in macrocycle size. To ascertain the effect of strain on recently reported bistable hydrazone photoswitches, we incorporated them into macrocycles having varying aliphatic linker lengths (C3C7), and studied their switching behavior, and effect of macrocycle size on the thermal isomerization rate. Surprisingly, while the systems with C3C5 linkers behave as expected (i.e., the rate is faster with smaller linkers), the isomerization rate in the systems with larger aliphatic linkers (C6C8) is enhanced up to 4 orders of magnitude. NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography and DFT calculations were used to elucidate this unexpected behavior, which on the basis of our analyses results from the buildup of Pitzer (torsional), Prelog (transannular) and Baeyer (large angle) strain in the longer linkers.