Exciton Dynamics of Biliproteins

Samuel Blau, Harvard University

Given the global energy crisis, we seek more efficient ways to both harvest and transport solar energy. We study biological systems that exhibit desirable properties to find novel mechanisms that could be incorporated into next-generation technologies. One such system, cryptophyte algae, is a 99.5-percent efficient light harvester despite having one of the simplest photosynthetic architectures found in nature. It relies on many copies of a single type of biliprotein, containing electronically active molecules called bilins, for both light absorption and excitation energy transfer. We have performed an ab initio computational study of unprecedented accuracy on one such biliprotein and compare our results to ultrafast spectroscopic measurements. Our simulations leverage the computational resources of the Department of Energy in order to provide novel insights into the biliprotein’s energy transfer processes.

Abstract Author(s): S.M. Blau, A. Aspuru-Guzik