TCB Publications - Abstract

Ana Damjanović, Ioan Kosztin, Ulrich Kleinekathoefer, and Klaus Schulten. Excitons in a photosynthetic light-harvesting system: A combined molecular dynamics, quantum chemistry and polaron model study. Physical Review E, 65:031919, 2002. (24 pages).

DAMJ2002 The dynamics of pigment-pigment and pigment-protein interactions in light-harvesting complexes is studied with a novel approach that combines molecular dynamics simulations with quantum chemistry calculations and a polaron model analysis. The molecular dynamics simulation of light-harvesting complexes was performed on an 87,055 atom system comprised of an LH-II complex of Rhodospirillum molischianum embedded in a lipid bilayer and surrounded with appropriate water layers. For each of the 16 B850 BChls we performed 400 ab initio quantum chemistry calculations on geometries that emerged from the molecular dynamical simulations, determining the fluctuations of pigment excitation energies as a function of time. From the results of these calculations we construct a time-dependent Hamiltonian of the B850 exciton system from which we determine within linear response theory the absorption spectrum. Finally, a polaron model is introduced to describe both the excitonic and coupled phonon degrees of freedom by quantum mechanics. The exciton-phonon coupling that enters into the polaron model, and the corresponding phonon spectral function are derived from the molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry simulations. The model predicts that excitons in the B850 BChl ring are delocalized over five pigments at room temperature. Also, the polaron model permits the calculation of the absorption and circular dichroism spectra of the B850 excitons from the sole knowledge of the autocorrelation function of the excitation energies of individual BChls, which is readily available from the combined molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry simulations. The obtained results are found to be in good agreement with the experimentally measured absorption and circular dichroism spectra.

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