Two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy of photoswitchable peptides

Annu Rev Phys Chem. 2008;59:291-317. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physchem.59.032607.093757.


We present a detailed discussion of the complimentary fields of the application of two-dimensional infrared (2D-IR) spectroscopy in comparison with two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (2D-NMR) spectroscopy. Transient 2D-IR (T2D-IR) spectroscopy of nonequilibrium ensembles is probably one of the most promising strengths of 2D-IR spectroscopy, as the possibilities of 2D-NMR spectroscopy are limited in this regime. T2D-IR spectroscopy uniquely combines ultrafast time resolution with microscopic structural resolution. In this article we summarize our recent efforts to investigate the ultrafast structural dynamics of small peptides, such as the unfolding of peptide secondary structure motifs. The work requires two ingredients: 2D-IR spectroscopy and the possibility of triggering a structural transition of a peptide on an ultrafast timescale using embedded or intrinsic photoswitches. Several photoswitches have been tested, and we discuss our progress in merging these two pathways of research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Azo Compounds
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Photochemistry
  • Protein Conformation
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared / methods*


  • Azo Compounds
  • Peptides
  • azobenzene