In a combined experimental and computational study of a group of para-substituted azobenzenes, the effects of substituents and solvent on the kinetics of thermal cis-to-trans isomerisation have been examined and the success of DFT calculations in predicting kinetic parameters assessed. Mono-substituted species are predicted to isomerise by inversion in both non-polar and polar solvent, whereas for push-pull azobenzenes the mechanism is predicted to change from inversion to rotation on going from non-polar to polar solvent. Computed free energies of activation qualitatively reproduce experimental trends but do not quantitatively predict the kinetics of cis-trans isomerisation. The polarisable continuum model of solvation fails to predict the experimentally observed influence of solvent on the entropy of activation.
- QUANTUM-CHEMICAL CALCULATIONS
- PUSH-PULL AZOBENZENES
- SUBSTITUTED AZOBENZENES
- INVERSION MECHANISM
- AZO DYES