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Review
. 2009 Apr;8(4):499-512.
doi: 10.1039/b819929a. Epub 2009 Feb 16.

Time-resolved Methods in Biophysics. 9. Laser Temperature-Jump Methods for Investigating Biomolecular Dynamics

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Review

Time-resolved Methods in Biophysics. 9. Laser Temperature-Jump Methods for Investigating Biomolecular Dynamics

Jan Kubelka. Photochem Photobiol Sci. .

Abstract

Many important biochemical processes occur on the time-scales of nanoseconds and microseconds. The introduction of the laser temperature-jump (T-jump) to biophysics more than a decade ago opened these previously inaccessible time regimes up to direct experimental observation. Since then, laser T-jump methodology has evolved into one of the most versatile and generally applicable methods for studying fast biomolecular kinetics. This perspective is a review of the principles and applications of the laser T-jump technique in biophysics. A brief overview of the T-jump relaxation kinetics and the historical development of laser T-jump methodology is presented. The physical principles and practical experimental considerations that are important for the design of the laser T-jump experiments are summarized. These include the Raman conversion for generating heating pulses, considerations of size, duration and uniformity of the temperature jump, as well as potential adverse effects due to photo-acoustic waves, cavitation and thermal lensing, and their elimination. The laser T-jump apparatus developed at the NIH Laboratory of Chemical Physics is described in detail along with a brief survey of other laser T-jump designs in use today. Finally, applications of the laser T-jump in biophysics are reviewed, with an emphasis on the broad range of problems where the laser T-jump methodology has provided important new results and insights into the dynamics of the biomolecular processes.

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