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Unravelling Coherent Dynamics and Energy Dissipation in Photosynthetic Complexes by 2D Spectroscopy

By Darius Abramavicius, Dmitri V. Voronine and Shaul Mukamel


Spectroscopic studies of light harvesting and the subsequent energy conversion in photosynthesis can track quantum dynamics happening on the microscopic level. The Fenna-Matthews-Olson complex of the photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria Chlorobium tepidum is a prototype efficient light-harvesting antenna: it stores the captured photon energy in the form of excitons (collective excitations), which are subsequently converted to chemical energy with almost 100% efficiency. These excitons show an elaborate relaxation pattern involving coherent and incoherent pathways. We make use of the complex chirality and fundamental symmetries of multidimensional optical signals to design new sequences of ultrashort laser pulses that can distinguish between coherent quantum oscillations and incoherent energy dissipation during the exciton relaxation. The cooperative dynamical features, which reflect the coherent nature of excitations, are amplified. The extent of quantum oscillations and their timescales in photosynthesis can be readily extracted from the designed signals, showing that cooperativity is maintained during energy transport in the Fenna-Matthews-Olson complex. The proposed pulse sequences may also be applied to reveal information on the robustness of quantum states in the presence of fluctuating environments in other nanoscopic complexes and devices

Topics: Photobiophysics
Publisher: The Biophysical Society
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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