Earlier studies of phosphine-substituted terthiophenes have demonstrated that some of these materials exhibit nonlinear absorption at 532 nm. However, this wavelength is significantly removed from the linear absorption maxima of the complexes, suggesting that better nonlinear absorption might be observed at wavelengths closer to the linear absorption maxima. To investigate this possibility, a library of compounds has been prepared either by varying the group attached to the nonbonding pair of electrons on the phosphorus atoms of 5,5″-bis(diphenylphosphino)-2,2′:5′,2″-terthiophene (PT3P), or by introducing additional substituents on the 5″-position of 5-(diphenylphosphino)-2,2′:5′,2″- terthiophene (PT3). All these compounds have been characterized using multinuclear NMR, UV-vis, and fluorescence spectroscopy. The compounds are strongly fluorescent, and both the fluorescence wavelength and the intensity depend upon the thiophene substituents. The nonlinear optical properties have also been evaluated at various wavelengths in the blue region. Each compound exhibits reverse saturable absorption, and the intensity of the reverse saturable absorption at a particular wavelength depends on the chemical structure of the compound. © 2011 American Chemical Society.