Abstract Quasilinear absorption and luminescence spectra of 1,2-benzotetraphene were obtained in polycrystalline matrices at 77 K. Tne energies of successive excited singlet states as well as the energy of the lowest excited triplet state were found experimentally and compared with those calculated by the PPP CI method. The fluorescence lifetime and quantum yield were determined experimentally. Moreover, the radiationless transition probabilities, lifetime of triplet state and phosphorescence quantum yield were estimated employing the Siebrand-Williams model. The results obtained suggest that radiationless ISC processes are the main deactivation channel of the S 1 and T 1 states. The vibrational analysis of quasilinear absorption and luminescence spectra was performed and fundamental frequencies of ground and first excited singlet states were determined.