The photophysical and electrochemical properties of a platinum(II) diimine complex bearing the bidentate diacetylide ligand tolan-2,2'-diacetylide (tda), Pt(dbbpy)(tda) [dbbpy = 4,4'-di-tert-butyl-2,2'-bipyridine] (1), are compared with two reference compounds, Pt(dbbpy)(C[triple bond]CPh)(2) (2) and Pt(dppp)tda [dppp = 1,3-bis(diphenylphosphino)propane] (3), respectively. The X-ray crystal structure of 1 is reported, which illustrates the nearly perfect square planarity exhibited by this metallacycle. Chromophore 2 possesses low-lying charge-transfer excited states analogous to 1, whereas structure 3 lacks such excited states but features a low-lying platinum-perturbed tda intraligand triplet manifold. In CH(2)Cl(2), 1 exhibits a broad emission centered at 562 nm at ambient temperature, similar to 2, but with a higher photoluminescence quantum yield and longer excited-state lifetime. In both instances, the photoluminescence is consistent with triplet-charge-transfer excited-state parentage. The rigidity imposed by the cyclic diacetylide ligand in 1 leads to a reduction in nonradiative decay, which enhances its room-temperature photophysical properties. By comparison, 3 radiates highly structured tda-localized triplet-state phosphorescence at room temperature. The 77 K emission spectrum of 1 in 41 EtOH/MeOH becomes structured and is quantitatively similar to that measured for 3 under the same conditions. Because the 77 K spectra are nearly identical, the emissions are assigned as (3)tda in nature, implying that the charge-transfer states are raised in energy, relative to the (3)tda levels in 1 in the low-temperature glass. Nanosecond transient absorption spectrometry and ultrafast difference spectra were determined for 1-3 in CH(2)Cl(2) and DMF at ambient temperature. In 1 and 2, the major absorption transients are consistent with the one-electron reduced complexes, corroborated by reductive spectroelectrochemical measurements performed at room temperature. As 3 does not possess any charge-transfer character, excitation into the pipi* transitions of the tda ligand generated transient absorptions in the relaxed excited state assigned to the ligand-localized triplet state. In all three cases, the excited-state lifetimes measured by transient absorption are similar to those measured by time-resolved photoluminescence, suggesting that the same excited states giving rise to the photoluminescence are responsible for the absorption transients. ESR spectroscopy of the anions 1- and 2- and reductive spectroelectrochemistry of 1 and 2 revealed a LUMO based largely on the pi* orbital of the dbbpy ligand. Time-dependent density functional theory calculations performed on 1-3 both in vacuum and in a CH(2)Cl(2) continuum revealed the molecular orbitals, energies, dipole moments, and oscillator strengths for the various electronic transitions in these molecules. A DeltaSCF-method-derived shift applied to the calculated transition energies in the solvent continuum yielded good agreement between theory and experiment for each molecule in this study.