Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 131, Issue 2, pp 121–144 | Cite as

Time-resolved infrared spectroscopy in the study of photosynthetic systems

  • Alberto Mezzetti
  • Winfried Leibl


Time-resolved (TR) infrared (IR) spectroscopy in the nanosecond to second timescale has been extensively used, in the last 30 years, in the study of photosynthetic systems. Interesting results have also been obtained at lower time resolution (minutes or even hours). In this review, we first describe the used techniques—dispersive IR, laser diode IR, rapid-scan Fourier transform (FT)IR, step-scan FTIR—underlying the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. Then, the main TR-IR results obtained so far in the investigation of photosynthetic reactions (in reaction centers, in light-harvesting systems, but also in entire membranes or even in living organisms) are presented. Finally, after the general conclusions, the perspectives in the field of TR-IR applied to photosynthesis are described.


FTIR difference spectroscopy Step-scan FTIR Vibrational spectroscopy Rapid-scan FTIR Infrared Electron transfer Proton transfer Reaction centers Ubiquinone Light-harvesting systems Bacterial reaction centers Photosystem I Photosystem II 



The authors thank Prof. G. Venturoli and Dr. M. Malferrari for stimulating discussion. A.M. thanks COST Action TD1102- Phototech for giving him the possibility of fruitful discussions with several European scientists working in photosynthesis research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, CNRS, UMR 7197, Laboratoire de Réactivité de SurfacesParisFrance
  2. 2.Institut de Biologie Intégrative de la Cellule (I2BC), IBITECS, CEA, CNRS, Univ. Paris-SudUniversité Paris-SaclayGif-sur-YvetteFrance

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