The absorbance and fluorescence spectra of Nile Red (NR) were examined in a series of nonpolar solvents comprising linear alkanes and a range of poly alpha olefins (PAO). These solvents span a 1000-fold range in viscosity and possess very similar dielectric constants and refractive index properties. A high-energy double peak with vibronic structure is observed in both fluorescence and absorbance spectra, possibly indicating that a locally excited (LE) state is accessed in these solvents. In addition, a red shift in peak position is observed with increasing refractive index; however, it is unaccompanied by any changes in Stokes shift. This shift is attributed to changes in the high-frequency polarizability of the solvent, which is a function of the refractive index. Finally, an increase in quantum yield with viscosity is also observed.

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