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Nuss, M. C.; Zinth, Wolfgang; Kaiser, Wolfgang; Koelling, E. and Oesterhelt, Dieter (31. May 1985): Femtosecond spectroscopy of the first events of the photochemical cycle in bacteriorhodopsin. In: Chemical Physics Letters, No. 117: pp. 1-7 [PDF, 550kB]


The first steps in the photochemistry of bacteriorhodopsin (BR) are investigated with light pulses of 160 fs duration. Four samples are studied: (i) the purple membrane, (ii) deuterated purple membrane, (iii) BR trimers and (iv) BR monomers. In all samples the first intermediate J is formed within 430±50 fs. No isotope effect is observed in the formation of J upon deuteration, in contrast to previous reports with much higher excitation energies. Thus proton movement to or from the retinal Schiff's base is not relevant during the first step. Comparing the data for trimeric and monomeric BR suggests an upper limit of 50 fs for the transfer of excitation energy from the excitonically coupled trimer to a single retinal chromophore.

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