Abstract Two newly prepared complexes were found to exhibit strong solid state emission behavior. The complexes are iodobis-(tricyclohexylphosphine)copper(I) and iodobis-(tricyclohexylphosphine)copper(I) benzene solvate. To understand the emission behavior of these complexes, density functional theory (DFT) calculations were employed. These calculations allowed the identification of major atomic contributions to HOMO, LUMO and LUMO+ n orbitals. The excitation mechanism was found to be a combination of ligand to metal charge transfer (LMCT) and metal to ligand charge transfer (MLCT), with the dominance of the former. The emission lifetimes were also investigated and the decays of the complexes were found to be a bi-exponential in both methanol and cyclohexane.