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?