Photodynamics of potent antioxidants: ferulic and caffeic acids†
The dynamics of ferulic acid (3-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-2-propenoic acid) and caffeic acid (3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-2-propenoic acid) in acetonitrile, dioxane and water at pH 2.2 following photoexcitation to the first excited singlet state are reported. These hydroxycinnamic acids display both strong ultraviolet absorption and potent antioxidant activity, making them promising sunscreen components. Ferulic and caffeic acids have previously been shown to undergo trans–cis photoisomerization via irradiation studies, yet time-resolved measurements were unable to observe formation of the cis-isomer. In the present study, we are able to observe the formation of the cis-isomer as well as provide timescales of relaxation following initial photoexcitation.