Photochromism of a symmetric diarylmaleimide derivative, having two thiophene rings (1), and a non-symmetric derivative having a S,S-dioxide thiophene ring and a thiophene ring (2) as the aryl moieties, was studied in various solvents. The photocyclization quantum yield of 1 gradually decreased with increasing the solvent polarity and the reaction was not observed in polar solvents, such as ethanol and acetonitrile; on the other hand, such a strong solvent dependence of the photocyclization reaction was not observed for 2; the different behavior is attributed to the weaker electron donating ability of the S,S-dioxide thiophene ring.
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