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28.10.2022 Solving azobenzene mystery

Together with Marc Reimann from the Kaupp group, Ellen has been able to unravel a mystery in the thermal isomerization of azobenzenes and decipher its detailed mechanism. In a joint theoretical and experimental effort, our team could find that azobenzenes prefer to cross - rather than overcome - the thermal barrier in the singlet state via the lower lying triplet state surface. This modified mechanism is able to account for the measured activation entropies and moreover opens the door for modifying thermal half-lifes of cis azobenzenes by the presence of heavy atoms in the environment. The study has just been accepted by The Journal Physical Chemistry Letters. Congratulations Ellen and Marc!