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Title: Synergistic regulation of nonbinary molecular switches by protonation and light

We report a molecular switching ensemble whose states may be regulated in synergistic fashion by both protonation and photoirradiation. This allows hierarchical control in both a kinetic and thermodynamic sense. These pseudorotaxane-based molecular devices exploit the so-called Texas-sized molecular box (cyclo[2]-(2,6-di(1H-imidazol-1-yl)pyridine)[2](1,4-dimethylenebenzene); 14+, studied as its tetrakis-PF6salt) as the wheel component. Anions of azobenzene-4,4′-dicarboxylic acid (2H+•2) or 4,4′-stilbenedicarboxylic acid (2H+•3) serve as the threading rod elements. The various forms of 2 and 3 (neutral, monoprotonated, and diprotonated) interact differently with 14+, as do the photoinducedcisortransforms of these classic photoactive guests. The net result is a multimodal molecular switch that can be regulated in synergistic fashion through protonation/deprotonation and photoirradiation. The degree of guest protonation is the dominating control factor, with light acting as a secondary regulatory stimulus. The present dual input strategy provides a complement to more traditional orthogonal stimulus-based approaches to molecular switching and allows for the creation of nonbinary stimulus-responsive functional materials.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. e2112973118
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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