Elite Network: Electronic excitations

Electronic excitations

The International Junior Research Group "Electronic excitations in light-converting systems" investigates the quantum-mechanical processes of photo­syn­thesis, in which plants convert the energy of light. The aim of the research group is to obtain information about the energetics and the transport of the electrons excited by sunlight. Knowledge of these principles is an important prerequisite for developing technologies that use sunlight as an energy source.

The Junior Research Group at a glance

LocationUniversity of Bayreuth
ConnectionElite Graduate Program „Biological Physics“
Project duration2018 to 2023
TeacherDr. Linn Leppert
Contact the group leader
Further informationWebsite of “Electronic excitations in light-converting systems”

Electronic excitations in light-converting systems

Natural light-harvesting systems convert the energy of sunlight into chemical energy. This happens in a complicated process that involves the excitation, transport and se­pa­ra­tion of charge carriers. In ad­dition to the plants, there are also algae and some bacteria that do photo­syn­the­sis under some­times extreme, but almost always changing en­vir­on­men­tal conditions. Nevertheless, the quantum-me­cha­ni­cal processes underlying photo­synthesis proceed with astonishingly high efficiency.

The aim of the International Junior Research Group "Electronic ex­ci­ta­tions in light-con­ver­ting systems" is to describe energy and charge transport in bac­te­rial photo centers by means of highly accurate and parameter-free quantum mechanical methods, in par­ti­cular the interaction of the dye molecules excited by sunlight with each other. In particular, the interaction of the dye molecules excited by the sun­light with each other and with their environment is in the focus of interest:

  • How can seemingly identical dyes take on completely different tasks in different regions of the photo­syn­thetic center? 
  • What influence does quantum me­chan­ical coherence have on the energy transport to the reaction center? 
  • How do the different components of the photosystem influence its opto­electronic properties?

In the long run, the members of the International Junior Research Group "Electronic excitations in light-converting systems" hope to under­stand the design principles that enable high quantum efficiencies under a variety of environmental conditions.

These principles could then be ap­plied to man-made light harve­sting systems, in particular solar cells.

Portrait photo: Dr. Linn Leppert

The Elite Network of Bavaria offers ideal conditions to conduct my interdisciplinary research.

Dr. Linn Leppert

The International Junior Research Group "Electronic excitations in light-converting systems" is in co­op­eration with the Elite Graduate Program "Biological Physics" of the University of Bayreuth.

Further cooperations

University of BayreuthBayreuth, Germany
University of California BerkeleyBerkeley, USA
Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeley, USA
University of StanfordStanford, USA