Abstract— The effect of solvent polarity on the electronic absorption and fluorescence properties of neutral red (NR), a phenazine-based dye of biological importance has been investigated in several neat and mixed solvents. An unusual dual solvatochromic behavior has been observed that reveals the existence of two closely spaced electronic excited states in NR. In low-polarity solvents the fluorescence of the NR is mainly emitted from the localized excited state, whereas in high-polarity solvents the emission from the charge transfer state dominates. The dipole moments of the localized and charge transfer states of NR have been estimated from the solvatochromic shifts. The dipole moment of the localized excited state (4.8 D) is only slightly higher than that of the ground state (2.0 D), while that of the charge transfer state is drastically higher (17.5 D). Fluorescence quantum yields and the life-times of NR have been determined in different solvents and correlated with the solvatochromic shifts.
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