Light-harvesting: Mechanisms of Energy Transfer

Light-harvesting is one of research areas which studies materials and molecules that capture photons of solar light. This includes studies to better understand the light-harvesting properties of photosynthetic organisms or those of artificial systems that are designed to promote photochemical reactions. Energy transfer is a key process in both natural and artificial photosynthesis.

Light-harvesting components of photosynthetic organisms are complex, many-body quantum systems. Specialized pigment-protein complexes transform sunlight into electronic excitations delivered to reaction centers. There is evidence that quantum coherence between electronic excited states plays an essential role in energy transfer, however, the significance of coherent dynamics for light-harvesting function is still unclear.

We are interested in modeling Hamiltonian for describing photosynthetic excitation energy transfer between the pigment-protein complexes and determining key components for energy transfer. Our goal is to identify mechanisms of coherent energy transfer and to use these mechanisms to improve other light-driven phenomena. Our results may provide a basis for design of efficient light-harvesting photonic devices.