Organic Photochromic and Thermochromic Compounds
Experiments showinga rapid and reversible change ofcolor s eem likemagic and are always fascinating. The process involved, photochromism, has a few real and many potential applications. Photochromic glasses thatdarken int he s unlight (protecting eyes from excessive light intensity) and bleach ind im lighta re today a part ofe v eryday life. Organic photochromic compounds in plastic ophthalmic lenses, more comfortable to wear, are now competing with silversalts in glasses, despite the longer lifetime oft he inorganic system. This successful commercial application has given a new impetus to research in the general field of photo chromism, which had its most recent revival in the early eighties. The storyo forganic photochromism with its ups anddowns, from the breakthroughs oft he pioneering periodi n the fifties, through the hardtimes dueto the drawbacks of photodegradation, tot he recent successes is in many ways a saga. The upsurges in this domain were marked by an increasing flow of articles in scientific journals andt he publication of several books (in 1971, 1990, and 1992) that have collectedt he important accumulatedknowledge. Over this period, a considerable number ofpatents have been issued. International meetings have accompanied this activity, the most recent being held in 1993 (ISOP 93 atLes Embiez Island, France) and in 1996 (ISOP 96 inClearwater, Florida). Remark ably, these meetings had good representation from both academia and industry. The next ISOP is planned for 1999 in Fukuoka, Japan.