The research focuses on the design of photoremovable protecting groups that can be used to deprotect biological substrates of an organic compound by photolysis. The deprotection of the protecting group via photolysis requires heterolysis of a bond to the substrate. Heterolysis of a C-O or C-S ?-bonds in a zwitterionic intermediate is proposed. The photochemical electrocyclic reactions studied involve acrylanilides, benzothiophene carboxanilides, and N-(9-oxothioxanthenyl) benzothiophene carboxamides. The most efficient photochemical electrocyclic ring closure and leaving group expulsion found thus far occurs with benzothiophene carboxanilides, which has considerable potential for use as cage compounds.