• fluorescent Chemosensor;
  • Time–Dependent density functional theory;
  • hydrogen bond;
  • sensing mechanism;
  • Excited-State proton transfer


An excited-state proton transfer (ESPT) process, induced by both intermolecular and intramolecular hydrogen-bonding interactions, is proposed to account for the fluorescence sensing mechanism of a fluoride chemosensor, phenyl-1H-anthra(1,2-d)imidazole-6,11-dione. The time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) method has been applied to investigate the different electronic states. The present theoretical study of this chemosensor, as well as its anion and fluoride complex, has been conducted with a view to monitoring its structural and photophysical properties. The proton of the chemosensor can shift to fluoride in the ground state but transfers from the proton donor (NH group) to a proton acceptor (neighboring carbonyl group) in the first singlet excited state. This may explain the observed red shifts in the fluorescence spectra in the relevant fluorescent sensing mechanism. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comput Chem, 2010