A series of crown ethers carrying an anthracene group with nitrogen-sulfur donor atom, which differ in having three, four and five Sulfur atoms in the macrocycle was designed and synthesized by the reaction of the corresponding macrocyclic compound and 9-chloromethyl-anthracene. The influence of metal cations such as Al3+, Zn2+, Fe2+, Fe3+. Co2+, Ni2+, Mn2+, Cu2+, Cd2+, Hg2+ and Pb2+ on the spectroscopic properties of the ligands was investigated in acetonitrile-dichloromethane (1 1) by means of absorption and emission spectrometry. Absorption spectra show isosbestic points in the spectrophotometric titration of Al3+, Zn2+, Fe2+, Fe3+, Cu2+, Hg2+ and Pb2+ the results of which disclosed the complexation compositions and complex stability constants of the novel ligands with these cations. The monoazapentathia crown ether showed sensitivity for Al3+ with linear range and detection limit of 2.6 x 10(-6) M-2.6 x 10(-5) M and 8.1 x 10(-7) M, respectively (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.