Exploring the Light-Capturing Properties of Photosynthetic Chlorophyll Clusters Using Large-Scale Correlated Calculations

Carl-Mikael Suomivuori†‡, Nina O. C. Winter§, Christof Hättig §, Dage Sundholm, and Ville R. I. Kaila∗‡

Department of Chemistry, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 55 (A. I. Virtanens plats 1), FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland
Department Chemie, Technische Universität München, Lichtenbergstraße, 4, Garching, Germany
Ruhr-University at Bochum, Universitätstraße 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany

J. Chem. Theory. Comput. 12, 2644-2651 (2016).
Publication Date (Web): May 6, 2016

Chlorophylls are light-capturing units found in photosynthetic proteins. We study here the ground and excited state properties of monomeric, dimeric, and tetrameric models of the special chlorophyll/bacteriochlorophyll (Chl/BChl) pigment (P) centers P700 and P680/P870 of type I and type II photosystems, respectively. In the excited state calculations, we study the performance of the algebraic diagrammatic construction through second-order (ADC(2)) method in combination with the reduced virtual space (RVS) approach and the recently developed Laplace-transformed scaled-opposite-spin (LT-SOS) algorithm, which allows us, for the first time, to address multimeric effects at correlated ab initio levels using large basis sets. At the LT-SOS-RVS-ADC(2)/def2-TZVP level, we obtain vertical excitation energies (VEEs) of 2.00–2.07 and 1.52–1.62 eV for the P680/P700 and the P870 pigment models, respectively, which agree well with the experimental absorption maxima of 1.82, 1.77, and 1.43 eV for P680, P700, and P870, respectively. In the P680/P870 models, we find that the photoexcitation leads to a π → π* transition in which the exciton is delocalized between the adjacent Chl/BChl molecules of the central pair, whereas the exciton is localized to a single chlorophyll molecule in the P700 model. Consistent with experiments, the calculated excitonic splittings between the central pairs of P680, P700, and P870 models are 80, 200, and 400 cm1, respectively. The calculations show that the electron affinity of the radical cation of the P680 model is 0.4 V larger than for the P870 model and 0.2 V larger than for P700. The chromophore stacking interaction is found to strongly influence the electron localization properties of the light-absorbing pigments, which may help to elucidate mechanistic details of the charge separation process in type I and type II photosystems.

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