Control of photoswitching kinetics with strong light-matter coupling in a cavity

07 July 2023, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Most photochemistry occurs in the regime of weak light-matter coupling, in which a molecule absorbs a photon and then performs pho-tochemistry from its excited state. In the strong coupling regime, enhanced light-matter interactions between an optical field and multiple molecules lead to collective hybrid light-matter states called polaritons. This strong coupling leads to fundamental changes in the nature of the excited states including multi-molecule delocalized excitations, modified potential energy surfaces, and dramatically altered energy levels relative to non-coupled molecules. The effect of strong light-matter coupling on covalent photochemistry has not been well ex-plored. Photoswitches undergo reversible intramolecular photoreactions that can be readily monitored spectroscopically. In this work, we study the effect of strong-light matter coupling on the kinetics of photoswitching within optical cavities. Reproducing prior experiments, photoswitching of spiropyran/merocyanine photoswitches is decelerated in a cavity. Fulgide photoswitches, however, show the opposite effect, with strong coupling accelerating photoswitching. While modified merocyanine switching can be explained by changes in radiative decay rates or the amount of light in the cavity, modified fulgide switching kinetics suggest direct changes to excited-state reaction kinetics.


light-matter coupling
Fabry-Pérot cavity
electronic strong coupling

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Materials and methods, experimental procedures, 1H and 13C NMR spectra, UV-vis and photoluminescence spectra


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