Molecules that change color in response to light have been around for quite some time. But using them in color-changing lenses and windows or other applications can be tricky because many of these molecules are plagued with one weakness or another, such as thermal instability or an inability to switch in the solid state. A group at Dartmouth College, the University of Bologna, and the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy came up with a hydrazone-based molecule (shown) that they say “packs most, if not all, the desired, targeted, and sought-after traits from photochromic compounds.” For example, the new compound is easily synthesized, active in a range of solutions and solid-state dispersions, and stable in air. To demonstrate its prowess, they drew this cute sailing scene in a toluene solution of the compound (video sped up for file size reasons).
Credit: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b07108
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