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NIM nanosystems initiative munich

Freitag, 20. April 2012

CeNS Kolloquium

Lessons from Nature about solar light harvesting

Sprecher: Prof. Gregory D. Scholes, Department of Chemistry, Institute for Optical Sciences and Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control, University of Toronto

Beginn: Freitag, 20. April 2012, 15:30 Uhr

Veranstaltungsort: Adolf-von-Baeyer-Hörsaal, Butenandtstr. 5-13, München-Großhadern


More than 10 million billion photons of light strike a leaf each second. Incredibly, almost every red-coloured photon is captured by chlorophyll pigments and initiates steps to plant growth. Last year we reported that marine algae use quantum mechanics in order to optimize photosynthesis [1], a process essential to its survival.These and other insights from the natural world promise to revolutionize our ability to harness the power of the sun.

In a recent review [2] we described the principles learned from studies of various natural antenna complexes and suggested how to utilize that knowledge to shape future technologies. We forecast the need to develop ways to direct and regulate excitation energy flow using molecular organizations that facilitate feedback and control—not easy given that the energy is only stored for a billionth of a second.

In this presentation I will discuss energy transfer dynamics in optimal synthetic light-harvesting systems and will introduce the idea of molecular ‘light harvesting circuits’. The novelty of these circuits is that the way they work can only be predicted using the laws of quantum mechanics.

[1] Elisabetta Collini, Cathy Y. Wong, Krystyna E. Wilk, Paul M. G. Curmi, Paul Brumer, and Gregory D. Scholes, “Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature” Nature 463, 644–648 (2010).

[2] Gregory D. Scholes, Graham R. Fleming, Alexandra Olaya-Castro and Rienk van Grondelle, “Lessons from nature about solar light harvesting” Nature Chem. 3, 763–774 (2011).

 Zur Homepage der Arbeitsgruppe Prof. Scholes

 Abstract als pdf


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