Cation delocalization and photo-isomerization enhance the uncaging quantum yield of a photocleavable protecting group†
Photocleavable protecting groups (PPGs) enable the light-induced, spatiotemporal control over the release of a payload of interest. Two fundamental challenges in the design of new, effective PPGs are increasing the quantum yield (QY) of photolysis and red-shifting the absorption spectrum. Here we describe the combination of two photochemical strategies for PPG optimization in one molecule, resulting in significant improvements in both these crucial parameters. Furthermore, we for the first time identify the process of photo-isomerization to strongly influence the QY of photolysis of a PPG and identify the cis-isomer as the superior PPG.