of a molecular entity between two forms, A and B,
having different absorption spectra, induced in one or both directions by absorption
of electromagnetic radiation. The spectral change produced is typically, but not
necessarily, of visible
colour and is accompanied by differences in other physical properties.
The thermodynamically stable
form A is transformed by irradiation
into form B.
The back reaction can occur thermally (photochromism of type T) or photochemically
(photochromism of type P).
The terms 'switch-on' and 'switch-of' are sometimes used to
denote the two directions of the photochromic reaction.
An important parameter is the 'number of cycles' that a photochromic
system can undergo under well-defined conditions
(solution, matrix, concentration, temperature).
PAC, 2007, 79, 293
(Glossary of terms used in photochemistry, 3rd edition (IUPAC Recommendations 2006))
on page 387