The concept of molecular metamorphosis is described. A molecule (flavylium cation) generates a sequence of other different molecules by means of external stimuli. The reversibility of the system allows for the flavylium cation to be recovered by other external stimuli, completing one cycle. Differently from supramolecular chemistry, molecular metamorphosis is not a bottom-up approach. All events occur at the bottom. The procedures to characterize the kinetics and thermodynamics of the cycles are summarized. They are based on direct pH jumps (addition of a base to the flavylium cation) and reverse pH jumps (addition of an acid to equilibrated solutions at higher pH values). Stopped flow is an indispensable tool to characterize these systems. The following metamorphic cycles will be described to illustrate the concept: (i) introducing the flavanone in the metamorphic system and illustrating the concept of a timer at the molecular level; (ii) response of the flavylium-based metamorphosis to light inputs and the write-lock-read-unlock-erase molecular system; (iii) a one-way cycle of direct-reverse pH jumps; (iv) interconversion of the flavylium cation with 2,2′-spirobis[chromene] derivatives; (v) 6,8 A-ring substituent rearrangements.
|Publication status||Published - 16 Nov 2021|