Direct measurement of the isomerization barrier of the isolated retinal chromophore

Jonathan Dilger, Lihi Musbat, Mordechai Sheves, Anastasia V. Bochenkova, David E. Clemmer, Yoni Toker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Isomerizations of the retinal chromophore were investigated using the IMS-IMS technique. Four different structural features of the chromophore were observed, isolated, excited collisionally, and the resulting isomer and fragment distributions were measured. By establishing the threshold activation voltages for isomerization for each of the reaction pathways, and by measuring the threshold activation voltage for fragmentation, the relative energies of the isomers as well as the energy barriers for isomerization were determined. The energy barrier for a single cis-trans isomerization is (0.64±0.05) eV, which is significantly lower than that observed for the reaction within opsin proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4748-4752
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number16
StatePublished - 13 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


  • chromophores
  • gas-phase reactions
  • ion mobility spectroscopy
  • isomerization
  • proteins


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