E-crotonic acid was isolated in cryogenic solid N-2 and xenon matrices, and subjected to Laser ultraviolet (UV) and near-infrared (NIR) irradiations. In the deposited matrices, the two low-energy cis C-O E-cc and E-ct conformers, which are the only forms significantly populated in the gas phase, were observed. UV irradiation (lambda= 250 nm) of the compound in N-2 matrix allows for experimental detection, not just of the two low-energy cis C-O isomers of Z-crotonic acid previously observed in the experiments carried out in argon matrix [Z-cc and Z-ct; R. Fausto, A. Kulbida, and O. Schrems, J. Chem. Soc., Faraday Trans. 91, 3755-3770 (1995)] but also of the never observed before high-energy forms of both E-and Z-crotonic acids bearing the carboxylic acid group in the trans arrangement (E-tc and Z-tc conformers). In turn, NIR irradiation experiments in the N-2 matrix allow to produce the high-energy E-tc trans C-O conformer in a selective way, from the initially deposited E-cc form. The vibrational signatures of all the 6 rotameric structures of the crotonic acids experimentally observed, including those of the new trans C-O forms, were determined and the individual spectra fully assigned, also with support of theoretically obtained data. On the other hand, as found before for the compound isolated in argon matrix, the experiments performed in xenon matrix failed to experimental detection of the trans C-O forms. This demonstrates that in noble gas matrices these forms are not stable long enough to allow for their observation by steady state spectroscopy techniques. In these matrices, the trans C-O forms convert spontaneously into their cis C-O counterparts, by tunnelling. Some mechanistic details of the studied processes were extracted and discussed. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.