Picosecond dynamics of primary electron-transfer processes in bacterial photosynthesis. Academic Article uri icon


  • The primary electron transfer processes in Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides R-26 were studied as a function of temperature by means of picosecond spectroscopy. The first chemical step of the bacterial photosynthesis involves an electron transfer from the excited state of a bacteriochlorophyll a dimer, (BChl)2, to a bacteriopheophytin (BPh) to form the radical ion pair (BChl)2+. BPh-.. The upper limit for the formation time of this ion-pair was found to be 10 ps, at temperatures in the range 300-4.2 degree K. Similarly, the second chemical step, involving electron transfer from BPh-. to an ubiquinone-iron complex (QFe), was found to have a lifetime of approximately 150 ps, also independent of temperature in the same range. We interpret the absence of temperature dependence as indicating that process 2 proceeds via a tunneling mechanism. Utilizing our results in conjunction with electron tunneling theories, we calculate the distance between BPh-. and Q(Fe) to be 9--13 A. Our results also imply a closer proximity between (BChl)2 and BPh.

published proceedings

  • Biophys J

author list (cited authors)

  • Peters, K., Avouris, P., & Rentzepis, P. M.

citation count

  • 63

complete list of authors

  • Peters, K||Avouris, P||Rentzepis, PM

publication date

  • August 1978