TCB Publications - Abstract

Johan Strümpfer, Jen Hsin, Melih Sener, Danielle Chandler, and Klaus Schulten. The light-harvesting apparatus in purple photosynthetic bacteria, introduction to a quantum biological device. In Benoit Roux, editor, Molecular Machines, chapter 2, pp. 19-48. World Scientific Press, 2011.

STRU2011 The chromatophore vesicle of purple bacteria is a quantum biological device consisting of about 200 protein complexes that cooperate to harvest sunlight. It is a biological solar cell at its simplest. A combination of decades of experimental and theoretical efforts provided an atomic level description of the chromatophore and the light harvesting process that it carries out. The architechture and function of the constituent proteins complexes and their integration into the chromatophore is described with a focus on the initatial steps of light-harvesting. These steps involve the capture of sunlight in the form of electronic excitation of a chlorophyll and the subsequent migration of the electronic excitation energy across the chromatophore until its energy is stored first as a transmembrane potential and then in the form of chemical energy.

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