from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A chemical group capable of selective light absorption resulting in the coloration of certain organic compounds.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A chromophorous substance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Chem.) Any chemical group or residue (as NO2; N2; or O2) which imparts some decided color to the compound of which it is an ingredient.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun chemistry that part of the molecule of a dye responsible for its colour
  • noun chemistry (more generally) the group of atoms in a molecule in which the electronic transition responsible for a given spectral band is located

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the chemical group that gives color to a molecule


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • These single - and double-cone sensitivities were estimated based on two assumptions: (1) the visual pigment λ max for each gene is the same for all species; and (2) the chromophore is A1 (11 - cis retinal) for all species.

    PLoS Biology: New Articles

  • Our first paper on Cypridina luciferin was published in 1957, although the chromophore structure of luciferin remained to be elucidated.

    Osamu Shimomura - Autobiography

  • Dr. Roger Tsien of University of California, San Diego, engineered GFP by modifying the amino acid residues surrounding the chromophore, producing many different fluorescent proteins that emit various colors, from blue to red.

    Osamu Shimomura - Autobiography

  • At that time, however, it was commonly believed that expressing the cDNA in living organisms would not produce fluorescent GFP, because the formation of its chromophore requires the reactions of condensation and dehydrogenation that are not expected to occur spontaneously.

    Osamu Shimomura - Autobiography

  • In 1972, back at Princeton, we succeeded in determining the structure of AF350, a part of the aequorin chromophore.

    Osamu Shimomura - Autobiography

  • Before leaving Princeton, I elucidated the chromophore of GFP (Shimomura, 1979).

    Osamu Shimomura - Autobiography

  • If the disappearance of the jellyfish had occurred 20 years earlier, we wouldn't have been able to learn the mechanism of the aequorin bioluminescence reaction, as well as the chromophore of GFP.

    Osamu Shimomura - Autobiography

  • [RT] And that's a strange paradoxical phenomenon because we discovered that almost any mutation of one amino acid right next to the chromophore will shift it to being all of one or all of the other – either all UV or all blue.

    Roger Y. Tsien - Interview

  • The third act of the GFP story began in 1994, when Roger Tsien explained how the chromophore of GFP can form spontaneously in the presence of oxygen and engineered a GFP variant with blue fluorescence, demonstrating that point mutations in the primary structure of GFP can modulate its fluorescence emission spectrum.

    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008 - Presentation Speech

  • It was generally assumed that formation of its chromophore would require enzymes specific to A. victoria, but there was one GFP believer named Martin Chalfie who had a different view.

    The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008 - Presentation Speech


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  • The part of a molecule that give it its color. According to Engadget, an Israeli company has created a new optical disc that can hold a full terabyte of data by creating a "hologram-like matrix" of chromophores. Future versions may reach capacities of 5TB.

    August 23, 2007

  • Wow. Who'da thunk it?

    August 23, 2007

  • This doesn't make too much sense. There is no physical part that gives a molecule color, it is a combination of things. And what does this have to do with disks? The article makes a lot more sense.

    August 24, 2007

  • I'm no physicist but Wikipedia says the following:

    "A chromophore is part (or moiety) of a molecule responsible for its color.

    "When a molecule absorbs certain wavelengths of visible light and transmits or reflects others, the molecule has a color. A chromophore is a region in a molecule where the energy difference between two different molecular orbitals falls within the range of the visible spectrum."

    August 24, 2007

  • Re: "When a molecule absorbs certain wavelengths of visible light and transmits or reflects others, the molecule has a color."

    It "has a color" not as an "out there" waiting-to-be-discovered, thing-in-itself color, but only via participating (mediating) optic organ cum neurological network (brain) Moreover, if a chromophore is a "region" ("part"), and it's defining quality is a difference in energy levels, this implicitly involves a perceiving structure capable, indeed, programmed to inpute value, i e., categorize/recognize that difference for the purpose of a fight, flight, eat, mate with (or, perhaps ignore) response whether innate or learned for that perception. The "visible" spectrum varies from organism to organism. So does color, especially in the context of cultural influences (for humans).

    This is my understanding of what "second generation" cognitive science ala George Lakoff, et al., would say about the wiki article excerpt quoted. (See my "Philosophy in the Flesh" list.)

    August 24, 2007

  • I just think it is incorrect to say that the chromophore is "part of the molecule".

    August 25, 2007

  • Chromophores -> photovoltaic cells.

    February 7, 2010