Alliance Projects

Can long-range quantum coherence exist in a self-assembled biological light harvesting ordered aggregate?!

PhD Student: 

  • Andrea Mattioni


Felipe Caycedo-Soler


  • Prof. Martin Plenio (Ulm)
  • Prof. Yossi Paltiel (Hebrew University)
  • Prof. Susana F. Huelga (Ulm)

Project Descriptions:

Do biological processes take advantage of the quantum properties of matter? If so, can we learn design principles for future quantum technologies? At first glance this seems unlikely due to the large disorder and the high temperatures in which biological systems typically operate. However, evidence for processes at the quantum/classical border are emerging in enzymology, bioenergetics and most prominently in photosynthetic excitation transfer in light-harvesting complexes (LH). These are ultrafast reactions that exhibit remarkably high efficiencies and long range quantum coherence is conjectured to underlie the high yield of these reactions. Harnessing the design principles of this biological system can lead to the realization of devices that transform future quantum technology. Our goals are to study the border between classical and quantum processes in the ordered aggregates, using advanced spectroscopy techniques and quantum mechanical simulations.


[1] M. Escalante, A. Lenferink, Y. Zhao, N. Tas, J. Huskens, C. N. Hunter, V. Subramanian, C. Otto , Nano Lett. 10, 1450 (2010)

[2] A. Block, P. Qian, C. Vassilev, M. Liebel, C. N. Hunter, N. van Hulst, in preparation

[3] S. Lloyd, M. Mohseni, New J. Phys. 12, 075020 (2010)

[4] G. Yang, N. Wu, T. Chen, K. Sun, Y. Zhao, J. Chem. Phys. C 116, 3747-3756 (2012)