Design and synthesis of a molecular photoswitch

Published on December 18, 2014

In this video clip, the creative process of developing a chemical concept, translating it into a molecular target structure, and realizing its synthesis is described.


Specifically, the implementation of light-control over a thermal chemical equilibrium is explained first on a conceptual level, followed by discussing molecular design considerations and preparation of a desired target structure. Particular emphasis is put on explaining how the molecular target structure is being assembled from small molecular building blocks by a sequence of organic reactions yet without going into the details of organic reactions, their conditions, and mechanisms. Finally, the potential of such photoswitchable molecules to control reversible crosslinking reactions by light, for example in self-healing polymeric materials, is highlighted.

Hecht Group | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Peter H. Seeberger is Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany and the Editor-in-Chief of the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry. Alexander G. O’Brian, Farhan R. Bou-Hamdan and François Lévesque are Postdocs at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces.

Göstl, R., Hecht, S.; “Controlling Covalent Connection and Disconnection by Light” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 126, 8929-8932, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201310626.

Original research article:

Bou-Hamdan, F. R.; Lévesque, F.; O’Brien, A. G.; Seeberger, P. H. Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2011, 7, 1124–1129. doi:10.3762/bjoc.7.129

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