Beyond Forster Resonance Energy Transfer in Biological and Nanoscale Systems

TitleBeyond Forster Resonance Energy Transfer in Biological and Nanoscale Systems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBeljonne, D, Curutchet C, Scholes GD, Silbey RJ
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Pagination6583 - 6599
Date Published2009
ISBN Number1520-6106
Keywords2-dimensional electronic spectroscopy, bridge-acceptor systems, excitation transfer, exciton delocalization length, light-harvesting complex, photosynthetic antenna complexes, pigment-protein complexes, pump-probe spectroscopy, purple bacteria, single-molecule spectroscopy
AbstractAfter photoexcitation, energy absorbed by a molecule can be transferred efficiently over a distance of up to several tens of angstroms to another molecule by the process of resonance energy transfer, RET (also commonly known as electronic energy transfer, EET). Examples of where RET is observed include natural and artificial antennae for the capture and energy conversion of light, amplification of fluorescence-based sensors, optimization of organic light-emitting diodes, and the measurement of structure in biological systems (FRET). Forster theory has proven to be very successful at estimating the rate of RET in many donor-acceptor systems, but it has also been of interest to discover when this theory does not work. By identifying these cases, researchers have been able to obtain, sometimes surprising, insights into excited-state dynamics in complex systems. In this article, we consider various ways that electronic energy transfer is promoted by mechanisms beyond those explicitly considered in Forster RET theory. First, we recount the important situations when the electronic coupling is not accurately calculated by the dipole-dipole approximation. Second, we examine the related problem of how to describe solvent screening when the dipole approximation fails. Third, there are situations where we need to be careful about the separability of electronic coupling and spectral overlap factors. For example, when the donors and/or acceptors are molecular aggregates rather than individual molecules, then RET occurs between molecular exciton states and we must invoke generalized Forster theory (GFT). In even more complicated cases, involving the intermediate regime of electronic energy transfer, we should consider carefully nonequilibrium processes and coherences and how bath modes can be shared. Lastly, we discuss how information is obscured by various forms of energetic disorder in ensemble measurements and we outline how single molecule experiments continue to be important in these instances.