The last few years have seen a renewed and ever increasing interest into the mechanism of electronic energy transfer (EET) during the first steps of photosynthesis stimulated by surprising experimental findings that indicate that EET in natural light-harvesting complexes may involve long-lived quantum-coherent dynamics. EET is a fundamental process relevant not only for biology but also for many applications based on synthetic molecular aggregates. Thus, establishing design principles that support quantum coherent dynamics of electronic excitation in the noisy vibrational environment typical of supramolecular structures may bring paradigmatic changes to the development of quantum-enhanced technologies.
This project is directed at investigating the largely unknown structure-to-function relation in coherent transport. The effect of structured environments, in particular discrete vibrations and the structural organisation of the light-harvesting molecules in sustaining quantum coherent dynamics and aiding EET will be studied in novel artificial systems. EET will be treated within the theoretical framework of open quantum systems in the well-known Quantum Mechanics Group at the University of Trieste under the supervision of Dr. A. Bassi. Despite the theoretical nature of the project, the research will have a strong experimental connection by focusing on experimentally relevant synthetic chiral systems that will be subject to spectroscopic studies in the group of Dr. E. Collini at the University of Padova.
The IEF program will allow the fellow to be immersed in an international top-class research environment and carry out a truly interdisciplinary research. The competencies gained and collaborations established during the fellowship will strengthen the scientific career of the fellow and contribute towards the fellow’s aim of a long-term research career in Europe. It will thus be beneficial for the fellow and for Europe’s research excellence.
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