Google Workshop on Quantum Biology Optimal and Robust Energy Transfer in Light-Harvesting Complexes: A Peculiar Interplay of Quantum Coherence and Decoherence Presented by Masoud Mohseni October 22, 2010 ABSTRACT Recent advances in 2D electronic spectroscopy have provided direct evidence for existence of quantum dynamical coherence in photosynthetic energy transfer at physiological temperature. These experimental observations lead us to three main questions: How quantum coherence can persist in such warm and wet conditions? What is the role of quantum effects in their biological performance? And how we can exploit similar phenomena for designing artificial systems for efficient light-harvesting and sensing. In this talk, I address these questions and demonstrate that an interplay of quantum coherence with environmental interactions leads to optimal and robust quantum transport in these biological complexes. The performance of these systems for transporting excitation energy is explored under realistic (non-perturbative and non-Markovian) interactions to their environment. In particular, the effects of environmental strength, memory, and symmetries on the energy transfer efficiency is studied. For Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) protein of green sulfur bacteria, the natural environmental parameters lay within an optimal and robust regime of energy transfer efficiency manifold. Furthermore, I will discuss whether or not the FMO complex structure is necessary for its performance ...

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