A newly developed ultraviolet photoelectron spectrometer apparatus that utilizes a tunable 50 W CW CO2 laser as a directed heat source is used to study the vacuum pyrolysis of 4-diazoisothiochroman-3-one (1a). Analysis of the pyrolysate with ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy shows that 1a undergoes a facile pyrolysis at a laser power level of less than 26 W, yielding two new compounds: thiaketene 3a, the product of a Wolff rearrangement, and benzocyclobutenthione (6a), which can be derived from thiacarbene 4a, the decarbonylation product of 3a. Activation enthalpies/energies calculated at the AM1 and ab initio levels of theory indicate that, unlike the case of 4-diazoisochroman-3-one (1b), the Wolff rearrangement of the incipient carbene may be concerted with loss of nitrogen from 1a. The activation enthalpy/energy calculated for the decarbonylation of 3a is significantly higher (AM1, 20.5 kcal/mol; RHF/6-31G(d), 11.7 kcal/mol; MP2(full)//RHF/6-31G(d), 14.3 kcal/mol) than the activation enthalpy/energy for the decarbonylation of 3b. This result is in keeping with the fact that we detect 3a, but 3b is not found in detectable amounts in the pyrolysate of 1b. Key words: vacuum pyrolysis, 4-diazoisothiochroman-3-one, HeI ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy, AM1 and ab initio calculations.