The photophysical aspects of a synthesized coumarinyl chalcone derivative 3-((2E, 4E)-5-(4-(dimethylamino) phenyl) penta-2, 4-dienoyl)-4-hydroxy-2H-chromen-2-one (DPPHC) were explored. DPPHC shows excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) suppressed excited state intramolecular charge transfer (ESICT) as evidenced from steady state and time resolved spectroscopic analysis. Interestingly, DPPHC behaves as a strong red emitter solely in chloroform and dichloromethane semi-polar solvents exclusively. Using this property, on-spot detection of these two solvents was achieved in paper strips coated with DPPHC as well as in spiked alcohol samples by emission ratiometry change. © 2021 Elsevier B.V.