Fluorescent switches based on photochromic compounds

Janet Cusido, Erhan Deniz, Francisco M. Raymo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


The photochemical transformations associated with photo- chromic compounds can be exploited to switch the emission of complementary fluorophores under the influence of optical stimulations. Specifically, fluorescent and photochromic components can be integrated within the same molecular or sup- ramolecular assembly and the significant changes in the stereoelectronic properties associated with the photoinduced interconversion of one component can be designed to modulate the emission intensity and/or wavelength of the other. In particular, the modifications in absorption properties, conjugation, dipole moment, redox potentials and shape of a pho- tochrome can all be transduced effectively into reversible alterations of the emissive behavior of a fluorophore. Furthermore, some of these ingenious mechanisms for fluorescence modulation can be extended from relatively small molecular and supramolecular assemblies to large macromolecular, nanostructured and biomolecular constructs. In fact, a diversity of chemical systems with photoswitchable luminescence have already emerged on the basis of these operating principles and choice of functional components. Ultimately, these fundamental studies on the photochemical and photophysi- cal signature of multicomponent assemblies might well lead to a new generation of photonic materials with unique properties for possible applications in biomedical imaging and sensing as well as in information processing and storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2031-2045
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Electron transfer
  • Energy transfer
  • Fluorescence
  • Molecular switches
  • Photochromism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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