The initial, light-harvesting step of photosynthesis is known to be exceptionally efficient, transporting absorbed light energy as electronic excitation to the reaction center with near unity efficiency within a few picoseconds. Experiments have revealed that this process shows surprisingly long-lived electronic coherences, prompting speculation that light-harvesting complexes might be robust, evolved quantum processors that operate effectively in a highly decohering environment. I shall present and discuss theoretical studies of the quantum dynamics of a prototypical photosynthetic light harvesting complex, the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) complex, that analyze the nature and extent of two characteristic features of quantum processors, namely quantum speedup and quantum entanglement, in these biological systems.
Professor, born 1956; B.A. Oxford University (1978); Nuffield Scholar (1974-78); Kennedy Fellow, Harvard University (1978-79); M. Sc. (1982), Ph.D. University of Chicago (1984); Golda Meir Fellow, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (1984-85), Post Doctoral Fellow, Tel Aviv University (1985-86); Bergmann Award (1986); A. P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1991-93); Member, ACS, APS, Deutsche Bunsen Gesellschaft; Alexander vonHumboldt Senior Scientist (1996-97); Fellow, American Physical Society (2002-); Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science Professor, University of California, Berkeley (2002-2003).
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