Long range excitonic transport in a biomimetic system inspired by the bacterial light-harvesting apparatus

Elad Harel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Photosynthesis, the process by which energy from sunlight drives cellular metabolism, relies on a unique organization of light-harvesting and reaction center complexes. Recently, the organization of light-harvesting LH2 complexes and dimeric reaction center-light-harvesting I-PufX core complexes in membranes of purple non-sulfur bacteria was revealed by atomic force microscopy S. Bahatyrova, Nature (London) 430, 1058 (2004). Here, we discuss optimal exciton transfer in a biomimetic system closely modeled on the structure of LH2 and its organization within the membrane using a Markovian quantum model with dissipation and trapping added phenomenologically. In a deliberate manner, we neglect the high level detail of the bacterial light-harvesting complex and its interaction with the phonon bath in order to elucidate a set of design principles that may be incorporated in artificial pigment-scaffold constructs in a supramolecular assembly. We show that our scheme reproduces many of the most salient features found in their natural counterpart and may be largely explained by simple electrostatic considerations. Most importantly, we show that quantum effects act primarily to enforce robustness with respect to spatial and spectral disorder between and within complexes. The implications of such an arrangement are discussed in the context of biomimetic photosynthetic analogs capable of transferring energy efficiently across tens to hundreds of nanometers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number174104
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - May 7 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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