This book provides an up-to-date critical review of the applications of picosecond and femtosecond laser pulses in biophysics and photobiology. Ultrashort laser pulses have proved to be invaluable for the investigation of the processes taking place in complex biomolecules, where there are many possible pathways via which excitation energy may transfer and relax, and for the study of the primary states of photobiochemical reactions that occur immediately after absorption of a light quantum. Many exciting results have already emerged, and in this book the contributors, who are all expert workers at the forefront of the field, review investigations carried out in the USSR and elsewhere. Many of the most recent data from Soviet work are presented here in for the first time in English outside the specialist journals. The book begins with an introductory chapter on the general principles and methods involved in the application of ultrashort laser pulses to the study of biomolecules. The remaining chapters deal with experimental work on specific biomolecules: ultrafast processes in rhodopsins, excitation energy redistribution in metallo porphyrins, energy migration and trapping in bacterial photosynthesis, two-quantum photophysics and photochemistry of thymine, picosecond uv inactivation of viruses and bacteria and picosecond laser photochemical synthesis of organic molecules. The work discussed in the monograph lies at the juction between many disciplines - spectroscopy, quantum electronics, biophysics and biochemistry - and this review will therefore to be of interest to a wide community of researchers, and the contributors hope it will therefore encourage further collaboration in this exciting field where much still awaits discovery.
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