Photo-induced spin switching in a modified anthraquinone modulated by DNA binding
An anthraquinone modified with a nitroxide radical and able to intercalate into DNA has been synthesized to obtain a molecule the spin state of which can be manipulated by visible light and DNA binding. The doublet ground state of the molecule can be photo-switched to either a strongly coupled spin state (quartet + doublet), when isolated, or to an uncoupled spin state (triplet and doublet), when bound to DNA. The different spin state that is obtained upon photoexcitation depends on the intercalation of the quinonic core into double-stranded DNA which changes the conformation of the molecule, thereby altering the exchange interaction between the excited state localized on the quinonic core and the nitroxide radical. The spin state of the system has been investigated using both continuous-wave and time-resolved EPR spectroscopy.