Photoluminescence as a Valuable Tool in the Optical Characterization of Acetaminophen and the Monitoring of Its Photodegradation Reactions

Molecules. 2020 Oct 7;25(19):4571. doi: 10.3390/molecules25194571.


In this work, new evidence for the photodegradation reactions of acetaminophen (AC) is reported by photoluminescence (PL), Raman scattering and FTIR spectroscopy. Under excitation wavelength of 320 nm, AC shows a PL band in the spectral range of 340-550 nm, whose intensity decreases by exposure to UV light. The chemical interaction of AC with the NaOH solutions, having the concentration ranging between 0.001 and 0.3 M, induces a gradual enhancement of the photoluminescence excitation (PLE) and PL spectra, when the exposure time of samples at the UV light increases until 140 min, as a result of the formation of p-aminophenol and sodium acetate. This behavior is not influenced by the excipients or other active compounds in pharmaceutical products as demonstrated by PLE and PL studies. Experimental arguments for the obtaining of p-aminophenol and sodium acetate, when AC has interacted with NaOH, are shown by Raman scattering and FTIR spectroscopy.

Keywords: UV light; acetaminophen; photodegradation.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / chemistry*
  • Photolysis
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Acetaminophen