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Charge and proton transfer reactions in the excited states of organic dyes can be coupled in many different ways. Despite the complementarity of charges, they can occur on different time scales and in different directions of the molecular framework. In certain cases, excited-state equilibrium can be established between the charge-transfer and proton-transfer species. The interplay of these reactions can be modulated and even reversed by variations in dye molecular structures and changes of the surrounding media. With knowledge of the mechanisms of these processes, desired rates and directions can be achieved, and thus the multiple emission spectral features can be harnessed. These features have found versatile applications in a number of cutting-edge technological areas, particularly in fluorescence sensing and imaging.
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