Steffen S Thies, Hanno H Sell, Christian C Schütt, Claudia C Bornholdt, Christian C Näther, Felix F Tuczek, Rainer R Herges


Magnetic bistability in spin-crossover materials generally is a collective phenomenon that arises from the cooperative interaction of a large number of microscopic magnetic moments within the crystal lattice in the solid state. We now report on individual molecules in homogeneous solution that are switched between the diamagnetic and paramagnetic states at room temperature by light-driven coordination-induced spin-state switching (LD-CISSS). Switching of the coordination number (and concurrently of the spin state) was achieved by using Ni-porphyrin as a square-planar platform and azopyridines as photodissociable axial ligands. The square-planar Ni-porphyrin is diamagnetic (low-spin, S = 0), and all complexes with axial ligands are paramagnetic (high-spin, S = 1). Association constants were determined for all conceivable 1:1 and 1:2 porphyrin/azopyridine complexes. The binding constants of the trans azopyridines are larger than those of the corresponding cis isomers. Thus, upon irradiation with UV light (365 nm, trans → cis) and visible light (455 nm, cis → trans), switching of the magnetic properties was achieved. Upon substitution of the azopyridines at the 4- and 4'-positions with larger substituents, the difference in trans and cis association constants, and thus the switching efficiency, was increased. A photoinduced, reversible switching between 20 and 68% paramagnetic Ni species in solution was achieved with isopropyl substituents at room temperature.