Excitation energy transfer in photosynthetic protein-pigment complexes

Shu-Hao Yeh, Purdue University


Quantum biology is a relatively new research area which investigates the rules that quantum mechanics plays in biology. One of the most intriguing systems in this field is the coherent excitation energy transport (EET) in photosynthesis. In this document I will discuss the theories that are suitable for describing the photosynthetic EET process and the corresponding numerical results on several photosynthetic protein-pigment complexes (PPCs). In some photosynthetic EET processes, because of the electronic coupling between the chromophores within the system is about the same order of magnitude as system-bath coupling (electron-phonon coupling), a non-perturbative method called hierarchy equation of motion (HEOM) is applied to study the EET dynamics. The first part of this thesis includes brief introduction and derivation to the HEOM approach. The second part of this thesis the HEOM method will be applied to investigate the EET process within the B850 ring of the light harvesting complex 2 (LH2) from purple bacteria, Rhodopseudomonas acidophila. The dynamics of the exciton population and coherence will be analyzed under different initial excitation configurations and temperatures. Finally, how HEOM can be implemented to simulate the two-dimensional electronic spectra of photosynthetic PPCs will be discussed. Two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy is a crucial experimental technique to probe EET dynamics in multi-chromophoric systems. The system we are interested in is the 7-chromophore Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) complex from green sulfur bacteria, Prosthecochloris aestuarii. Recent crystallographic studies report the existence of an additional (eighth) chromophore in some of the FMO monomers. By applying HEOM we are able to calculate the two-dimensional electronic spectra of the 7-site and 8-site FMO complexes and investigate the functionality of the eighth chromophore.




Kais, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Physical chemistry|Quantum physics

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