Photoswitches capable of accessing two geometric states are highly desirable, especially if their design is modular and incorporates a pharmacophore tethering site. We describe a redox isomerization strategy for synthesizing p-formylazobenzenes from p-nitrobenzyl alcohol. The resulting azo-aldehydes can be readily converted to photoswitchable compounds with excellent photophysical properties using simple hydrazide click chemistry. As a proof of principle, we synthesized a photoswitchable surfactant enabling the photocontrol of an emulsion with exceptionally high spatiotemporal precision.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry