Self-trapped excitons in LH2 antenna complexes between 5 K and ambient temperature

Arvi Freiberg, Margus Rätsep, Kõu Timpmann, Gediminas Trinkunas, Neal Woodbury

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66 Scopus citations


High-spectral-resolution hole-burning and fluorescence line-narrowing spectra of excitons in LH2 complexes from the photosynthetic purple bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides have been investigated together with conventional broadband fluorescence spectra and their temperature dependence. The steady-state spectroscopy has been complemented by fluorescence lifetime measurements. The experimental results are discussed on the basis of the adiabatic Holstein exciton polaron model, modified by including diagonal disorder. As a result, a new interpretation for the LH2 antenna optical spectra is provided. The exciton when optically excited becomes localized after relaxation. The LH2 fluorescence is mainly due to self-trapped excitons not only at low temperature, as previously suggested (Timpmann, K.; Katiliene, Z.; Woodbury, N. W.; Freiberg, A. J. Phys. Chem. B 2001, 105, 12223), but also over the whole temperature range up to physiological temperatures because the self-trapped exciton binding energy is of the same order as the thermal excitation energy at ambient temperature. The conclusion is made that direct self-trapping relaxation dominates the common energy relaxation between exciton states and that the main factor limiting the relaxed exciton size is dynamic rather than static disorder. The coexistence of large and small exciton polarons at low temperatures has been confirmed. Exciton self-trapping also essentially modifies the long-wavelength tail of the absorption spectrum of LH2 complexes. The fraction of the absorption spectrum that is subject to hole burning is due to large-radius self-trapped excitons that are weakly coupled to the lattice. The rest of this spectrum that survives hole burning belongs to the strongly coupled self-trapped excitons/excimers. Implications of these results on the interpretation of Stark spectroscopy experiments as well as on photosynthetic energy transfer and trapping are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11510-11519
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 16 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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