Vibrational Beatings Conceal Evidence of Electronic Coherence in the FMO Light-Harvesting Complex

Roel Tempelaar, Thomas L.C. Jansen, Jasper Knoester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


In biological light harvesting, solar energy is captured by photosynthetic antennae for subsequent storage into chemical bonds. The remarkable efficiency reached in transferring the energy between the collection and storage events recently has been attributed to long-lived electronic coherence present in such antennae systems. We present numerical simulations indicating that the spectroscopic transients that supported this hypothesis are not induced by electronic coherence but instead are caused by vibrational (nuclear) motion in the electronic ground state potential. Besides emphasizing the significance of such nuclear modes, our findings stimulate a reconsideration of the role of electronic coherence in promoting energy transfer in natural photosynthesis. Furthermore, they require us to rethink how energy transfer efficiency is reflected in spectral signals. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12865-12872
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 13 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Vibrational Beatings Conceal Evidence of Electronic Coherence in the FMO Light-Harvesting Complex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this