Ultrafast exciton transfers in DNA and its nonlinear optical spectroscopy

J Chem Phys. 2008 Apr 7;128(13):135102. doi: 10.1063/1.2894843.


We have calculated the nonlinear response function of a DNA duplex helix including the contributions from the exciton population and coherence transfers by developing an appropriate exciton theory as well as by utilizing a projector operator technique. As a representative example of DNA double helices, the B-form (dA)10-(dT)10 is considered in detail. The Green functions of the exciton population and coherence transfer processes were obtained by developing the DNA exciton Hamiltonian. This enables us to study the dynamic properties of the solvent relaxation and exciton transfers. The spectral density describing the DNA base-solvent interactions was obtained by adjusting the solvent reorganization energy to reproduce the absorption and steady-state fluorescence spectra. The time-dependent fluorescence shift of the model DNA system is found to be ultrafast and it is largely determined by the exciton population transfer processes. It is further shown that the nonlinear optical spectroscopic techniques such as photon echo peak shift and two-dimensional photon echo can provide important information on the exciton dynamics of the DNA double helix. We have found that the exciton-exciton coherence transfer plays critical roles in the peculiar energy transfer and ultrafast memory loss of the initially created excitonic state in the DNA duplex helix.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / radiation effects*
  • Energy Transfer
  • Light
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Spectrum Analysis / methods*


  • DNA