The dye chlorodiane blue, used as a carrier generation molecule in organic photoconductors, is characterized via optical absorption and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and the results are interpreted on the basis of ab initio quantum mechanical molecular models. These data indicate that chlorodiane blue exists as azo-enol and hydrazone-quinone chemical structures and it is the hydrazone-quinone form that provides the higher xerographic gain in electrophotographic applications. Optimized geometries, atomic charges, and molecular orbital plots and energies are reported for both the azo-enol and hydrazone-quinone forms of chlorodiane blue. The two structural forms of the dye are experimentally distinguishable via both optical absorption and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and the wavelength and chemical shifts, respectively, are interpreted via the theoretical results. © 1992, American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.