Stepwise photochromism of bisnaphthopyrans exhibiting an excitation intensity-dependent color change†
Non-linear photoresponses against excitation light intensity are important for the development of attractive photofunctional materials exhibiting high spatial selective photoswitching that is not affected by weak background light. Biphotochromic systems composed of two fast photochromic units have the potential to show a stepwise two-photon absorption process in which the optical properties can be non-linearly controlled by changing the excitation light conditions. Herein, we designed and synthesized novel bisnaphthopyran derivatives containing fast photoswitchable naphthopyran units. The bisnaphthopyran derivatives show a stepwise two-photon-induced photochromic reaction upon UV light irradiation accompanied by a drastic color change due to a large change in the molecular structure between the one-photon product and the two-photon product. Consequently, the color of the bisnaphthopyran derivatives can be non-linearly controlled by changing the excitation intensity. This characteristic photochromic property of the biphotochromic system provides important insight into advanced photoresponsive materials.