Revisiting peri-aryloxyquinones: From a forgotten photochromic system to a promising tool for emerging applications

01 November 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Emerging applications of photochromic compounds demand new molecular designs that can be inspired by some long-known yet currently forgotten classes of photoswitches. In the present review, we would like to remind the community about Peri-AryloxyQuinones (PAQs) and their unique photoswitching behavior originally discovered by Gerasimenko more than 50 years ago. At the heart of this phenomenon is the light-induced migration of an aromatic moiety (arylotropy) in peri-aryloxy-substituted quinones resulting in ana-quinones. PAQs feature absorbance of both isomers in the visible spectral region, photochromism in the amorphous and crystalline state, and thermal stability of the photogenerated ana-isomer. Particularly noticeable is the high sensitivity of the ana-isomer towards nucleophiles in solution. In addition to the mechanism of molecular photochromism and the underlaying structure-switch relationships, we analyze potential applications and prospects of aryloxyquinones in optically switchable materials and devices. Due to their ability to efficiently photoswitch in the solid state, PAQs are indeed attractive candidates for such materials and devices, including electronics (optically controllable circuits, switches, transistors, memories, and displays), porous crystalline materials, crystalline actuators, photoactivated sensors, and many more. This review is intended to serve as a guide for researchers who wish to use photoswitchable PAQs in the development of new photocontrollable materials, devices, and processes.




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