TCBG Seminar

One Ring To Bind Them All - Excitonic Quantum Random Walk in Biological Phycocyanin Nanowires

Professor Yossi Paltiel
Physics Department
The Hebrew University
Jerusalem, Israel

Monday, September 21, 2015
3:00 pm (CT)
3269 Beckman Institute


The importance of quantum processes in biology is starting to be recognized. Quantum processes are being discussed in the context of enzyme function, olfaction, magnetic sensing and most prominently in photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes. These findings suggest that a key to the survival of quantum coherence at ambient temperatures is the interplay between long-lived vibrational modes and the electronic degrees of freedom. Our aim is to understand the underlying mechanisms driving photosynthetic processes with efficient long range energy transfer and harness this knowledge to advance innovative quantum technologies. Utilizing light harvesting complexes we were able to fabricate self- assembled nano-energy guides. We used isolated Phycocyanin proteins that can self- assemble into bundles of nanowires. We show two methods for controlling the organization of the bundles. The optically excited nanowires exhibit long range quantum energy transfer through hundreds of proteins. Such results may provide new building blocks for coherent based nano-devices. In vivo desert adapted cyanobacteria seems to use the same organization for efficient energy removal. The suggested results open many questions regarding the distribution and the efficiency of energy transfer mechanisms in biological systems.

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