Following the Flow of Energy in Biomolecules

Science  11 Nov 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5750, pp. 980-982
DOI: 10.1126/science.1120280

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A variety of biomolecules can rapidly and efficiently move energy from one form to another. Despite much study, the mechanism by which such energy transfers take place in the face of rapid energy dissipation remains unclear. In his Perspective, Champion discusses results reported in the same issue by Kukura et al. in which femtosecond Raman spectroscopy is used to examine the structural dynamics of the visual pigment rhodopsin in the earliest stages of the photophysical process. As a result of these studies, a picture is emerging in which fast electron transitions followed by a slower nuclear response play separate but complementary roles.