Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The quantum physics of artificial light harvesting

13.07.2015

How molecular vibrations make photosynthesis efficient

Plants and bacteria make use of sunlight with remarkably high efficiency: nine out of ten absorbed light particles are being put to use in an ordinary bacterium.


Photosynthesis model system

TU Wien

For years, it has been a pressing question of modern research whether or not effects from quantum physics are responsible for this outstanding performance of natural light harvesters. A team of European research groups, a collaboration between universities in Vienna, Ulm, Cartagena, Prague, Berlin and Lund, have examined these quantum effects in an artificial model system.

It was shown that the hotly debated quantum phenomena can be understood as a delicate interplay between vibrations and electrons of the involved molecules. The resulting theoretical model explains the experiments perfectly. The article was published in Nature Communications.

The studied artificial light harvester is a supramolecule, consisting of hundreds of thousands of light absorbing molecules, arranged in close proximity to one another and in an orderly fashion.

Such architecture puts these systems in between noisy living cells and strictly organized quantum experiments at low temperatures: supramolecules are still governed by the same quantum effects as natural photosynthetic systems, but without the noisy background that makes their investigation so difficult in biological systems.

The research team employed polarized light to isolate the desired quantum-dynamical effects. Studying such ordered systems does not only further our understanding of natural photosynthesis, it also helps us to appreciate the physical mechanisms necessary for energy-efficient, cheaper, more flexible and lighter photovoltaic cells.

Weitere Informationen:

Article reference: „Vibronic origin of long-lived coherence in an artificial molecular light harvester”
Picture download: http://www.tuwien.ac.at/dle/pr/aktuelles/downloads/2015/photosynthese

Dr. Florian Aigner | Technische Universität Wien

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>