A number of photofunctional molecular compounds have been developed recently. Typical examples of these are phototunable valence tautomeric compounds, which are now attracting great attention. When the charge-transfer bands of some Co valence tautomeric compounds are excited at low temperature, metastable redox isomers can be created after irradiation. The lifetimes of the metastable states can be more than several hours. These transformations can involve changes in the magnetic properties of the compounds, as well as their color. Hence, these compounds can be regarded as novel photomagnetic materials. The photoresponsive behaviors of these valence tautomeric compounds are similar to those of spin-crossover complexes (light-induced excited spin-state trapping effects).
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