Quantum coherent energy transfer over varying pathways in single light-harvesting complexes

Hildner, R., Brinks, D., Nieder, J.B., Cogdell, R.J. and van Hulst, N.F. (2013) Quantum coherent energy transfer over varying pathways in single light-harvesting complexes. Science, 340(6139), pp. 1448-1451. (doi:10.1126/science.1235820)

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Abstract

The initial steps of photosynthesis comprise the absorption of sunlight by pigment-protein antenna complexes followed by rapid and highly efficient funneling of excitation energy to a reaction center. In these transport processes, signatures of unexpectedly long-lived coherences have emerged in two-dimensional ensemble spectra of various light-harvesting complexes. Here, we demonstrate ultrafast quantum coherent energy transfer within individual antenna complexes of a purple bacterium under physiological conditions. We find that quantum coherences between electronically coupled energy eigenstates persist at least 400 femtoseconds and that distinct energy-transfer pathways that change with time can be identified in each complex. Our data suggest that long-lived quantum coherence renders energy transfer in photosynthetic systems robust in the presence of disorder, which is a prerequisite for efficient light harvesting.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cogdell, Professor Richard
Authors: Hildner, R., Brinks, D., Nieder, J.B., Cogdell, R.J., and van Hulst, N.F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology
Journal Name:Science
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:0036-8075
ISSN (Online):1095-9203

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