Low-temperature single-molecule spectroscopy on photosynthetic pigment-protein complexes from purple bacteria

Silke Oellerich, Jürgen Köhler

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific reviewpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The primary reactions of purple bacterial photosynthesis take place within two well characterized pigment-protein complexes, the core Reaction Center-Light Harvesting 1 (RC-LH1) complex and the more peripheral Light Harvesting 2 (LH2) complex. These antenna complexes serve to absorb incident solar radiation and to transfer it to the reaction-centers, where it is used to 'power' the photosynthetic redox reaction. This review provides an overview of how the character of the electronically excited states of these pigment-protein complexes are determined by quantum mechanics and how the respective spectral signatures can be observed by single-molecule spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank T.J. Aartsma and R.J. Cogdell for fruitful collaboration and J. Baier, C. Hofmann, and M. Richter who performed many of the experimental work described in this review. We thank Marc Jendrny for assistance with Fig. 1. Financial support from the Volkswagen Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. This manuscript was edited by Govindjee.


  • Light-harvesting complexes
  • Purple bacteria
  • Single-molecule spectroscopy


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