Z-isomerization of retinoids through combination of monochromatic photoisomerization and metal catalysis†
Catalytic Z-isomerization of retinoids to their thermodynamically less stable Z-isomer remains a challenge. In this report, we present a photochemical approach for the catalytic Z-isomerization of retinoids using monochromatic wavelength UV irradiation treatment. We have developed a straightforward approach for the synthesis of Z-retinoids in high yield, overcoming common obstacles normally associated with their synthesis. Calculations based on density functional theory (DFT) have allowed us to correlate the experimentally observed Z-isomer distribution of retinoids with the energies of chemically important intermediates, which include ground- and excited-state potential energy surfaces. We also demonstrate the application of the current method by synthesizing gram-scale quantities of 9-cis-retinyl acetate 9Z-a. Operational simplicity and gram-scale ability make this chemistry a very practical solution to the problem of Z-isomer retinoid synthesis.