, Volume 66, Issue 1-2, pp 33-44

Short-pulse pump-and-probe technique for airborne laser assessment of Photosystem II photochemical characteristics

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The development of a technique for laser measurement of fPhotosystem II (PS II) photochemical characteristics of phytoplankton and terrestrial vegetation from an airborne platform is described. Results of theoretical analysis and experimental study of pump-and-probe measurement of the PS II functional absorption cross-section and photochemical quantum yield are presented. The use of 10 ns probe pulses of PS II sub-saturating intensity provides a significant, up to 150-fold, increase in the fluorescence signal compared to conventional `weak-probe' protocol. Little effect on the fluorescence yield from the probe-induced closure of PS II reaction centers is expected over the short pulse duration, and thus a relatively intense probe pulse can be used. On the other hand, a correction must be made for the probe-induced carotenoid triplet quenching and singlet-singlet annihilation. A Stern-Volmer model developed for this correction assumes a linear dependence of the quenching rate on the laser pulse fluence, which was experimentally validated. The PS II saturating pump pulse fluence (532 nm excitation) was found to be 10 and 40 μmol quanta m−2 for phytoplankton samples and leaves of higher plants, respectively. Thirty μs was determined as the optimal delay in the pump-probe pair. Our results indicate that the short-pulse pump-and-probe measurement of PS II photochemical characteristics can be implemented from an airborne platform using existing laser and LIDAR technologies.