The Effect of a Mild Base on Curcumin in Methanol and Ethanol

Steady-state and time-resolved emission techniques were employed to study the effect of acetate, a mild base, on the luminescence of curcumin in methanol and ethanol. We found that the steady-state emission intensity as well as the average fluorescence decay time are reduced by a factor of 5 when the acetate concentration is raised to about 1.8 M. We attribute this large effect to an excited-state proton transfer (ESPT) from the acidic groups of curcumin to the acetate anion. We analyze the experimental data in terms of an ESPT reaction occurring between a photoacid and a base.