Journal article

Insights into excited-state and isomerization dynamics of bacteriorhodopsin from ultrafast transient UV absorption

A visible-pump/UV-probe transient absorption is used to characterize the ultrafast dynamics of bacteriorhodopsin with 80-fs time resoln. We identify three spectral components in the 265- to 310-nm region, related to the all-trans retinal, tryptophan (Trp)-86 and the isomerized photoproduct, allowing us to map the dynamics from reactants to products, along with the response of Trp amino acids. The signal of the photoproduct appears with a time delay of  250 fs and is characterized by a steep rise ( 150 fs), followed by addnl. rise and decay components, with time scales characteristic of the J intermediate. The delayed onset and the steep rise point to an impulsive formation of a transition state on the way to isomerization. We argue that this impulsive formation results from a splitting of a wave packet of torsional modes on the potential surface at the branching between the all-trans and the cis forms. Parallel to these dynamics, the signal caused by Trp response rises in  200 fs, because of the translocation of charge along the conjugate chain, and possible mechanisms are presented, which trigger isomerization. [on SciFinder (R)]


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