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DEPARTMENT COLLOQUIUM | Lessons from Nature about Solar Light Harvesting Speaker: Gregory D. Scholes (University of Toronto; Institute for Optical Sciences and Centre for Quantum Information & Quantum Control)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
5:00 AM
340 West Hall

Speaker: Gregory D. Scholes (University of Toronto Chemistry; Institute for Optical Sciences and Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control)

Solar fuel production often starts with the energy from light being absorbed by an assembly of molecules and routed by electronic energy transfer. For example, in photosynthesis, antenna complexes capture sunlight and direct the energy to reaction centers that then carry out the associated chemistry. I will explain experiments revealing the mechanisms of femtosecond energy transfer processes in photosynthetic algae, including evidence for quantum coherent effects. Principles learned from such studies of natural antenna complexes suggest how to elucidate strategies for designing light harvesting antenna systems. We envision that such systems will be used to concentrate excitation energy by directing and regulating excitation flow using quantum-mechanical effects.

[1] G.D. Scholes, G.R. Fleming, A. Olaya-Castro and R. van Grondelle, “Lessons from nature about solar light harvesting” Nature Chemistry, in press (2011).

[2] E. Collini, C. Y. Wong, K. E. Wilk, P. M. G. Curmi, P. Brumer, and G. D. Scholes, “Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature” Nature 463, 644–648 (2010).