Femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy has been used to investigate the energy transfer and trapping processes in both intact membranes and purified detergent-isolated particles from a photosystem II deletion mutant of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, which contains only the photosystem I reaction center. Processes with similar lifetimes and spectra are observed in both the membrane fragments and the detergent-isolated particles, suggesting little disruption of the core antenna resulting from the detergent treatment. For the detergent-isolated particles, three different excitation wavelengths were used to excite different distributions of pigments in the spectrally heterogeneous core antenna. Only two lifetimes of 2.7–4.3 ps and 24–28 ps, and a nondecaying component are required to describe all the data. The 24–28 ps component is associated with trapping. The trapping process gives rise to a nondecaying spectrum that is due to oxidation of the primary electron donor. The lifetimes and spectra associated with trapping and radical pair formation are independent of excitation wavelength, suggesting that trapping proceeds from an equilibrated excited state. The 2.7–4.3 ps component characterizes the evolution from the initially excited distribution of pigments to the equilibrated excited state distribution. The spectrum associated with the 2.7–4.3 ps component is therefore strongly excitation wavelength dependent. Comparison of the difference spectra associated with the spectrally equilibrated state and the radical pair state suggests that the pigments in the photosystem I core antenna display some degree of excitonic coupling.
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