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Aminoalkyl-substituted heptamethine cyanine dyes are characterized by a large Stokes shift, an uncommon feature for cyanine molecules yet very promising for their application as fluorescent probes in bioimaging and as light harvesting antennas in biohybrid systems for solar energy conversion. The origin of this photophysical feature has not been adequately explored so far, and a combined experimental and theoretical work is herein provided to shed light on the role played by the centraldoi:10.5281/zenodo.3610219 fatcat:qpcldzxfm5eijdyeatonlrx7uu