Density functional theory methods were used to investigate various self-assembled photoactive bioorganic systems of interest for artificial minimal cells. The cell systems studied are based on nucleotides or their compounds and consisted of up to 123 atoms (not including the associated water or methanol solvent shells) and are up to 2.5 nm in diameter. The electron correlation interactions responsible for the weak hydrogen and Van derWaals chemical bonds increase due to the addition of a polar solvent (water or methanol). The precursor fatty acid molecules of the system also play a critical role in the quantum mechanical interaction based self-assembly of the photosynthetic center and the functioning of the photosynthetic processes of the artificial minimal cells. The distances between the separated sensitizer, fatty acid precursor, and methanol molecules are comparable to Van derWaals and hydrogen bonding radii. As a result the associated electron correlation interactions compress the overall system, resulting in an even smaller gap between the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO), and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) electron energy levels and photoexcited electron tunnelling occurs from the sensitizer (either Ru(bpy)32+ or [Ru(bpy)2(4-Bu-4’-Me-2,2’-bpy)]2++ derivatives) to the precursor fatty acid molecules (notation used: Me = methyl; Bu = butyl; bpy = bipyridine). The shift of the absorption spectrum to the red for the artificial protocell photosynthetic centers might be considered as the measure of the complexity of these systems.
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