The recently synthesized spiro[cyclohexadiene-dihydroacridines] consisting of perpendicularly arranged aroylcyclohexadiene and N-methyl-dihydroacridine moieties were found to have photochromic properties. The reversible photoisomerization from the spiro compound toward a colored merocyanine caused by C–C bond cleavage in the cyclohexadiene was studied by stationary and time-resolved measurements of their optical spectra. The course of the absorption under UV and visible irradiation, respectively, and HPLC analysis of the photoproducts result in the determination of excitation energy-dependent quantum yields for the merocyanine formation and, in reverse, the ring closure, as well as degradation. Whereas the thermal back reaction completely recovers the spiro compound (k ≈ 6.8 × 10−4 s−1, T = 22°C), degradation of the merocyanine under irradiation at 480 nm has a probability of about 6%. Picosecond-resolved measurements of the fluorescence and the transient absorption show that photoisomerization occurs via the first excited singlet state within 100 ps depending on the activation barrier.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3