Abstract

Time-resolved spectroscopy is often used to monitor the relaxation processes (or reactions) of physical, chemical, and biochemical systems after some fast physical or chemical perturbation. Time-resolved spectra contain information about the relaxation kinetics, in the form of macroscopic time constants of decay and their decay associated spectra. In the present paper we show how the Bayesian maximum entropy inversion of the Laplace transform (MaxEnt-iLT) can provide a lifetime distribution without sign-restrictions (or two-dimensional (2D)-lifetime distribution), representing the most probable inference given the data. From the reconstructed (2D) lifetime distribution it is possible to obtain the number of exponentials decays, macroscopic rate constants, and exponential amplitudes (or their decay associated spectra) present in the data. More importantly, the obtained (2D) lifetime distribution is obtained free from pre-conditioned ideas about the number of exponential decays present in the data. In contrast to the standard regularized maximum entropy method, the Bayesian MaxEnt approach automatically estimates the regularization parameter, providing an unsupervised and more objective analysis. We also show that the regularization parameter can be automatically determined by the L-curve and generalized cross-validation methods, providing (2D) lifetime reconstructions relatively close to the Bayesian best inference. Finally, we propose the use of MaxEnt-iLT for a more objective discrimination between data-supported and data-unsupported quantitative kinetic models, which takes both the data and the analysis limitations into account. All these aspects are illustrated with realistic time-resolved Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) synthetic spectra of the bacteriorhodopsin photocycle.

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