A stochastic surrogate Hamiltonian approach of coherent and incoherent exciton transport in the Fenna-Matthews-Olson complex

N. Renaud*, M. A. Ratner, V. Mujica

*Corresponding author for this work

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The capture and transduction of energy in biological systems is clearly necessary for life, and nature has evolved remarkable macromolecular entities to serve these purposes. The Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) complex serves as an intermediate to transfer the energy from the chlorosome to the special pairs of different photo systems. Recent observations have both suggested the importance of coherent exciton transport within the FMO and motivated an elegant and appropriate theoretical construct for interpreting these observations. Here we employ a different approach to exciton transport in a relaxing environment, one based on the stochastic surrogate Hamiltonian method. With it, we calculate the quantum trajectories through the FMO complex both for the model involving seven bacteriochlorophylls that has been used before, and for one involving an eighth bacteriochlorophyll, which has been observed in some new and very important structural work. We find that in both systems, efficient energy transfer to the ultimate receptor occurs, but that because of the placement of, and energy relaxation among, the different bacteriochlorophyll subunits in the FMO complex, the importance of coherent oscillation that was discussed extensively for the seven site system is far less striking for the eight site system, effectively because of the weak mixing between the initial site and the remainder of the system. We suggest that the relevant spectral densities can be determinative for the energy transport route and may provide a new way to enhance energy transfer in artificial devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number075102
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 21 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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