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Upcoming and Archived: Conferences | Lectures on Quantum Phenomena

A quantum biological device - The light harvesting apparatus of purple photosynthetic bacteria

Klaus Schulten (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Date: Thursday April 14
Time: 2:00pm
Location: Hennings 318

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 electronic and 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 initial steps of light-harvesting. These steps involve the capture of sunlight in the form of electronic excitation of a chlorophyll or a carotenoid molecule 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. The lecture will illustrate how physics principles and biological organization go hand in hand to fuel life with the energy of sun light.

To learn more please visit his webpage.

Additional resources for this talk: slides.


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