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J Phys Chem B. 2009 Jul 23;113(29):9942-7. doi: 10.1021/jp901724d.

Role of quantum coherence and environmental fluctuations in chromophoric energy transport.

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, 12 Oxford Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


The role of quantum coherence in the dynamics of photosynthetic energy transfer in chromophoric complexes is not fully understood. In this work, we quantify the biological importance of fundamental physical processes, such as the excitonic Hamiltonian evolution and phonon-induced decoherence, by their contribution to the efficiency of the primary photosynthetic event. We study the effect of spatial correlations in the phonon bath and slow protein scaffold movements on the efficiency and the contributing processes. To this end, we develop two theoretical approaches based on a Green's function method and energy transfer susceptibilities. We investigate the Fenna-Matthews-Olson protein complex, in which we find a contribution of coherent dynamics of about 10% in the presence of uncorrelated phonons and about 30% in the presence of realistically correlated ones.

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