We are delighted to share great news: our first work related to OPUS 20 grant CatVis that we recently started has just been accepted for publication in J. Phys. Chem. A!

“Theoretical Study of the Photoisomerization Mechanism of All-Trans-Retinyl Acetate”

by M. Kochman, K. Palczewski and A. Kubas


The compound 9-cis-retinyl acetate (9-cis-RAc) is a precursor to 9-cis-retinal, which has potential application in the treatment of some hereditary diseases of the retina. An attractive synthetic route to 9-cis-RAc is based on the photoisomerization reaction of the readily available all-trans-RAc. In the present study, we examine the mechanism of the photoisomerization reaction with the use of state-of-the-art electronic structure calculations for two polyenic model compounds: tEtEt-octatetraene and tEtEtEc-2,6-dimethyl-1,3,5,7,9-decapentaene. The occurrence of photoisomerization is attributed to a chain-kinking mechanism, whereby a series of S1/S0 conical intersections associated with kinking deformations at different positions along the polyenic chain mediate internal conversion to the S0 state, and subsequent isomerization around one of the double bonds. Two other possible photoisomerization mechanisms are taken into account, but they are rejected as incompatible with simulation results and/or the available spectroscopic data.