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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Oct 15;88(20):8885-9.

Direct observation of vibrational coherence in bacterial reaction centers using femtosecond absorption spectroscopy.

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Laboratoire d'Optique Appliquée, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité 275, Ecole Polytechnique-Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées, Palaiseau, France.


It is shown that vibrational coherence modulates the femtosecond kinetics of stimulated emission and absorption of reaction centers of purple bacteria. In the DLL mutant of Rhodobacter capsulatus, which lacks the bacteriopheophytin electron acceptor, oscillations with periods of approximately 500 fs and possibly also of approximately 2 ps were observed, which are associated with formation of the excited state. The kinetics, which reflect primary processes in Rhodobacter sphaeroides R-26, were modulated by oscillations with a period of approximately 700 fs at 796 nm and approximately 2 ps at 930 nm. In the latter case, at 930 nm, where the stimulated emission of the excited state, P*, is probed, oscillations could only be resolved when a sufficiently narrow (10 nm) and concomitantly long pump pulse was used. This may indicate that the potential energy surface of the excited state is anharmonic or that low-frequency oscillations are masked when higher frequency modes are also coherently excited, or both. The possibility is discussed that the primary charge separation may be a coherent and adiabatic process coupled to low-frequency vibrational modes.

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