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Design principles of photosynthetic light-harvesting.

Abstract

Photosynthetic organisms are capable of harvesting solar energy with near unity quantum efficiency. Even more impressively, this efficiency can be regulated in response to the demands of photosynthetic reactions and the fluctuating light-levels of natural environments. We discuss the distinctive design principles through which photosynthetic light-harvesting functions. These emergent properties of photosynthesis appear both within individual pigment-protein complexes and in how these complexes integrate to produce a functional, regulated apparatus that drives downstream photochemistry. One important property is how the strong interactions and resultant quantum coherence, produced by the dense packing of photosynthetic pigments, provide a tool to optimize for ultrafast, directed energy transfer. We also describe how excess energy is quenched to prevent photodamage under high-light conditions, which we investigate through theory and experiment. We conclude with comments on the potential of using these features to improve solar energy devices.

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  • Authors

    Fleming GR, Schlau-Cohen GS, Amarnath K, Zaks J

    Institution

    Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. grfleming@lbl.gov

    Source

    Faraday discussions 155: 2012 pg 27-41; discussion 103-14

    MeSH

    Chlorophyta
    Energy Transfer
    Green Chemistry Technology
    Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
    Light
    Light-Harvesting Protein Complexes
    Models, Molecular
    Photochemistry
    Photosynthesis
    Solar Energy
    Spectrometry, Fluorescence

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    22470965