Bidirectional photoswitchability in an iron(III) spin crossover complex: Symmetry-breaking and solvent effects


The impact of solvent on spin crossover (SCO) behaviour is reported in two solvates [Fe(qsal-I)2]NO3.2ROH (qsal-I = 4-iodo-2-[(8-quinolylimino)methyl]phenolate; R = Me 1 or Et 2) which undergo abrupt and gradual SCO, respectively. A symmetry-breaking phase transition due to spin-state ordering from a [HS] to [HS-LS] state occurs at 210 K in 1, while T1/2 = 250 K for the EtOH solvate. The MeOH solvate exhibits LIESST and reverse-LIESST from the [HS-LS] state, revealing a hidden [LS] state. Moreover, photocrystallographic studies on 1 at 10 K reveal re-entrant photoinduced phase transitions to a high symmetry [HS] phase when irradiated at 980 nm or a high symmetry [LS] phase after irradiation at 660 nm. This study represents the first example of bidirectional photoswitchability and subsequent symmetry-breaking from a [HS-LS] state in an iron (III) SCO material, opening the door to more complex photomagnetic devices.


Supplementary material

Supplementary information
Experimental, crystallographic details, structural pictures, TGA and PXRD