Capability to control macroscopic molecular properties with external stimuli offers the possibility to exploit molecules as switching devices of various types. However, application of such molecular-level switching has often been limited by its speed and thus efficiency. Herein, we demonstrate ultrafast, photoinduced polarization switching in the crystal of a [CrCo] dinuclear complex by ultrafast pump–probe spectroscopy in the visible and mid-infrared regions. The photoinduced polarization switching was found to have a time constant of 280 fs, which makes the [CrCo] complex crystal the fastest polarization-switching material realized using the metastable state. Moreover, the pump–probe data in the visible region reveal the pronounced appearance of coherent nuclear wavepacket motion with a frequency as low as 22 cm−1, which we attribute to a lattice vibrational mode. The pronounced non-Condon effect for its resonance Raman enhancement implies that this mode couples the relevant electronic states, thereby facilitating the ultrafast polarization switching.
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