Rationalization of the color properties of fluorescein in the solid state: a combined computational and experimental study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Mihails Arhangelskis
  • Mark D. Eddleston
  • David G. Reid
  • Graeme M. Day
  • Dejan-krešimir Bučar
  • William Jones

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Cambridge
  • School of Chemistry; University of Southampton, Highfield; Southampton SO17 1BJ UK
  • Department of Chemistry; University College London; 20 Gordon Street London WC1H 0AJ UK


Fluorescein is known to exist in three tautomeric forms defined as quinoid, zwitterionic, and lactoid. In the solid state, the quinoid and zwitterionic forms give rise to red and yellow materials, respectively. The lactoid form has not been crystallized pure, although its cocrystal and solvate forms exhibit colors ranging from yellow to green. An explanation for the observed colors of the crystals is found using a combination of UV/Vis spectroscopy and plane-wave DFT calculations. The role of cocrystal coformers in modifying crystal color is also established. Several new crystal structures are determined using a combination of X-ray and electron diffraction, solid-state NMR spectroscopy, and crystal structure prediction (CSP). The protocol presented herein may be used to predict color properties of materials prior to their synthesis.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10065-10073
JournalChemistry: A European Journal
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2016