Azobenzene Photoswitching with Near-Infrared Light Mediated by Molecular Oxygen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Efficient photoisomerization between the cis and the trans states of azobenzenes using low-energy light is desirable for a range of applications in, e.g., photobiology yet challenging to accomplish directly with modified azobenzenes. Herein, we utilize molecular iodine as a photocatalyst to induce indirect cis-to-trans isomerization of 4,4′-dimethoxyazobenzene with 770 nm near-infrared light, showing robustness during more than 1000 cycles in ambient conditions. Intriguingly, the catalysis is mediated by molecular oxygen, and we demonstrate that other singlet-oxygen-generating photosensitizers besides iodine, i.e., palladium phthalocyanine, catalyze the isomerization as well. Thus, we envision that the approach can be further improved by employing other catalysts with suitable photoelectrochemical properties. Further studies are needed to explore the applicability of the approach with other azobenzene derivatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12568–12573
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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