In this paper, we reported the syntheses and investigation of the modes of binding to DNA of the two new ethidium derivatives containing benzoyl and phenylacetyl groups of both amines at 3-and 8- positions. The interactions between calf thymus DNA (ct-DNA) and the two derivatives, 3,8-dibenzoylamino-5-ethyl-6-phenylphenantridinium cloride (E2) and 3,8-diphenylacetylamino-5-ethyl-6-phenylphenantridinium chloride (E3), were investigated by fluorescence quenching spectra and UV-vis absorption spectra. The Stern-Volmer quenching constants, binding constants, binding sites and the corresponding thermodynamic parameters Delta H, Delta S and Delta G were calculated at different temperatures. The results indicated the formation of E2 and E3-DNA complexes and van der Waals interactions as the predominant intermolecular forces in stabilizing for each complex. In addition, increasing nucleophilicity of the functional groups at 3- and 8- positions exhibited the respectable increment the DNA binding affinities of derivatives. The results of absorption, ionic strength and iodide ion quenching suggested that the interaction mode of E2 and E3 with ct-DNA was intercalative binding. The limit of detection (LOD) of ct-DNA were 7.49 x 10(-8) (n = 4) and 4.18 x 10(-8) mol/l (n = 7) in presence of E2 and E3, respectively.