The Schiff base compound (E)-N'-((5-nitrothiophen-2-yl)methylene)-2-phenoxyaniline has been synthesized and characterized by IR, UV-Vis, and X-ray diffraction (XRD) methods. The molecular geometry from X-ray experiment in the ground state has been compared using the density functional theory (OFF) with the 6-311++G(d,p) basis set. The calculated results show that the optimized geometry can well reproduce the crystal structure, and the theoretical vibrational frequency values show good agreement with experimental values. By using TD-DFT method, electronic absorption spectra of the title compound have been predicted and a good agreement with the TD-DFT method and the experimental one is determined. The energetic behavior of the title compound in solvent media has been examined using B3LYP method with the 6-311++G(d,p) basis set by applying the Onsager and the integral equation formalism polarizable continuum model (IEF-PCM). The predicted nonlinear optical properties of the title compound are greater than ones of urea. In addition, DFT calculations of the title compound, molecular electrostatic potential (MEP), natural bond orbital (NBO) and thermodynamic properties were performed at B3LYP/6-311++G(d,p) level of theory. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.