The molecular aggregation and spectroscopic properties of Pyronin Y (PyY) in the suspension containing natural bentonite clay were studied using molecular absorption, steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy techniques. Interaction between the clay particles and the cationic dye compounds in aqueous solution resulted in significant changes in spectral properties of PyY compared to its molecular behavior in deionized water at the same concentration. These changes were due to the formation of dimer and aggregate of PyY in the clay suspension as well as the presence of the dye monomer. The H-type aggregates of PyY in the clay suspension were identified by the observation of a blue-shifted absorption band of the dye compared to that of its monomer. In spite of diluted dye concentrations, the H-aggregate of PyY in the clay suspension was formed. The intensive aggregation in the clay suspension attributed to the localized high dye concentration on the negatively charged clay surfaces. Adsorption sites of PyY on the clay particles were discussed by deconvulated absorption and excitation spectra. Fluorescence spectroscopy studies revealed that the fluorescence intensity of PyY in the clay suspension is decreased by H-aggregates drastically. Moreover, the presence of H-aggregates in the clay suspension resulted in the decrease of fluorescence lifetime and quantum yield of PyY compared to those in deionized water. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.