State-specific electrostatic potential descriptors for estimating solvatochromic effects

  • Lulu Wang
  • Shiwei YinEmail author
Original Paper


The Lippert-Mataga equation is used widely to describe the solvatochromic effects of fluorescent molecules through the evaluation of solute–solvent interactions on the basis of the point-dipole model. A large dipole deviation of molecules in the ground-state and the lowest excited-state is a basic requirement for the design of a polarity-sensitive fluorescent probe. Some recently synthesized probes with center-symmetry have near zero dipole deviation while undergoing notably solvatochromic behaviors. Thus, it is necessary to find a new method beyond the Lippert-Mataga model to qualitatively estimate the molecular solvent shifts. To this end, a state-specific descriptor (SSD) based on molecular surface electrostatic potentials (ESP) is proposed to explain the solvatochromic behaviors of the well-studied coumarin C153 and center-symmetric DCB-1d. In contrast to the experimental solvent shifts and state-specific TD-DFT calculations, the SSD successfully explains the solvatochromic effect of C153 and DCB-1d molecules. In addition, the SSD was tested by using eight selected polarity-sensitive fluorescent molecules. The SSD was found to provide a good linear relationship with solvatochromism.


Solvatochromism State-specific descriptor Non-equilibrium implicit solvation model Polarity-sensitive probe 



The authors thank Dr. Yun Wang helpful discussions. This work is supported by the National Key R&D program of China (Grant No. 2017YFB0203404), National Natural Science Foundation of China (21173138), and Shaanxi Innovative Team of Key Science and Technology (2103KCT-17).

Supplementary material

894_2019_3948_MOESM1_ESM.docx (515 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 514 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Macromolecular Science of Shaanxi Province, School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anChina

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