Manipulating the excitation transfer in Photosystem I using a Fabry–Perot metal resonator with optical subwavelength dimensions†
We demonstrate controlled modification of the fluorescence and energy transfer properties of Photosystem I (PSI) – one of the most important light harvesting systems – by using a newly developed approach to produce optical subwavelength microcavities for cryogenic temperature issues. The experiments were carried out on PSI from the cyanobacterium Arthrospira platensis as it shows a broad and structured fluorescence emission. By changing the distance between the cavity forming mirrors, the electromagnetic field mode structure around PSI is varied affecting the emission and energy transfer properties, which allows us to selectively enhance signals of resonant emitters and suppress off-resonant emission. By comparing the experimental data with simulations, we are able to show how excitation transfer within PSI is affected by the microcavity. The ability to control the energy transfer within such efficient energy converters as photosynthetic proteins can establish the opportunity for enhancing the efficiencies of bio-solar applications. The defined control of the resonance conditions by microcavities makes them a preferable tool to study the effects of additional electromagnetic modes on the energy transfer in any coupled multi-chromophore system. The resonator geometry excludes the direct contact of the proteins with any surface. Possible quenching or denaturation of the complexes close to metal surfaces is still an insuperable obstacle for studies with proteins and nanostructures, which can be avoided by resonators.