The central premise of classical thermodynamics is that free energy gained by a system may not be larger than work done on it. However, in the presence of ‘information-to-energy’ feedback, energy may indeed move uphill in systems operating far from equilibrium. It remains an open question as to whether feedback itself is even necessary outside the confines of classical physics. In systems governed by quantum mechanics, energy can move reversibly between high and low energy states of the system, which, in the presence of relaxation, may result in energy trapping at a desired time and space. Many natural biological systems routinely achieve this energetic choreography with remarkable efficiency despite their exposure to “hot and wet” environmental conditions. This proposal seeks to develop instrumentation tailored to measure quantum transport processes in a new class of biomimetic quantum dynamical systems - colloidal nano-networks composed of organic-inorganic components – in order to achieve directed energy transport across a broad energy spectrum. These artificial molecules offer a unique platform with tailored electronic and vibrational structures to direct energy along controllable pathways in space. Specifically, we propose to develop a novel technique combining super-continuum generation with multi-dimensional coherent optical spectroscopy, which can realize simultaneous high spectral and temporal resolution across the entire visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The proposed instrument will serve to support current DoD funded efforts (ARO Grant W911NF-12-1-0290, PI: Elad Harel) for understanding how to exploit quantum mechanical effects in artificial PPCs operating in extreme environments. The proposed instrument will serve as an important research and educational tool for students in collaboration with the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University. The proposed work will encourage students to develop creative thinking skill by connecting physical measurements of complex and adaptive systems to critical challenges at the frontiers of quantum physics.
|Effective start/end date
|9/1/14 → 8/31/15
- Army Research Office (W911NF-14-1-0551)
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