The photovoltaic signal associated with the primary photochemical event in an oriented bacteriorhodopsin film is measured by directly probing the electric field in the bacteriorhodopsin film using an ultrafast electro-optic sampling technique. The inherent response time is limited only by the laser pulse width of 500 fs, and permits a measurement of the photovoltage with a bandwidth of better than 350 GHz. All previous published studies have been carried out with bandwidths of 50 GHz or lower. We observe a charge buildup with an exponential formation time of 1.68 ± 0.05 ps and an initial decay time of 31.7 ps. Deconvolution with a 500-fs Gaussian excitation pulse reduces the exponential formation time to 1.61 ± 0.04 ps. The photovoltaic signal continues to rise for 4.5 ps after excitation, and the voltage profile corresponds well with the population dynamics of the K state. The origin of the fast photovoltage is assigned to the partial isomerization of the chromophore and the coupled motion of the Arg-82 residue during the primary event.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes