This tutorial review illustrates how work on the reversible interconversion between the colorless and colored forms of photochromic compounds can be exploited to modulate electron and energy transfer processes. Indeed, a photochrome can be designed to accept electrons or energy from a complementary donor in one of its two states only. Alternatively, the photoinduced transformations associated with a photochromic switch can be engineered to control the relative orientation and distance of donor-acceptor pairs. If either the donor or the acceptor is fluorescent, the photoregulated transfer of energy or electrons results in the modulation of the emission intensity. Thus, these fascinating molecular and supramolecular systems can advance the basic understanding of electron and energy transfer processes, while leading to viable operating principles to control light with light.
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