Computational Modeling of Exciton-Bath Hamiltonians for Light Harvesting 2 and Light Harvesting 3 Complexes of Purple Photosynthetic Bacteria at Room Temperature

Daniel Montemayor, Eva Rivera, Seogjoo J. Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Light harvesting 2 (LH2) complex is the primary component of the photosynthetic unit of purple bacteria that is responsible for harvesting and relaying excitons. The electronic absorption line shape of LH2 contains two major bands at 800 and 850 nm wavelength regions. Under low light conditions, some species of purple bacteria replace LH2 with light harvesting 3 (LH3), a variant form with almost the same structure as the former but with distinctively different spectral features. The major difference between the absorption line shapes of LH2 and LH3 is the shift of the 850 nm band of the former to a new 820 nm region. The microscopic origin of this difference has been the subject of some theoretical/computational investigations. However, the genuine molecular level source of such a difference is not clearly understood yet. This work reports a comprehensive computational study of LH2 and LH3 complexes so as to clarify different molecular level features of LH2 and LH3 complexes and to construct simple exciton-bath models with a common form. All-atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of both LH2 and LH3 complexes provide detailed molecular level structural differences of bacteriochlorophylls (BChls) in the two complexes, in particular, in their patterns of hydrogen bonding (HB) and torsional angles of the acetyl group. Time-dependent density functional theory calculation of the excitation energies of BChls for structures sampled from the MD simulations suggests that the observed differences in the HB and torsional angles cannot fully account for the experimentally observed spectral shift of LH3. Potential sources that can explain the actual spectral shift of LH3 are discussed, and their magnitudes are assessed through fitting of experimental line shapes. These results demonstrate the feasibility of developing simple exciton-bath models for both LH2 and LH3, which can be employed for large-scale exciton quantum dynamics in their aggregates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3815-3825
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 12 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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