From organic entanglement to synthetic solar cells

There have been a number of papers recently which have suggested that amazing efficiency of the photosynthesis stems from its exploitation of quantum entanglement in the conversion from light to energy. Now some investigations into the details of the mechanism are beginning to give us a hint about how to move forward exploiting that knowledge to be build much more efficient solar cells:

“In a paper in The Journal of Chemical Physics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics, these ideas are put to the test in a novel computer simulation of energy transport in a photosynthetic reaction center. Using the simulation, professor Shaul Mukamel and senior research associate Darius Abramavicius at the University of California, Irvine show that long-lived quantum coherence is an ‘essential ingredient for quantum information storage and manipulation,’ according to Mukamel. It is possible between chromophores even at room temperature, he says, and it ‘can strongly affect the light-harvesting efficiency.’

If the existence of such effects can be substantiated experimentally, he says, this understanding of quantum energy transfer and charge separation pathways may help the design of solar cells that take their inspiration from nature.”

Read the full article here.

Imagine a solar energy farm that would comprised of leaves, small mechanical ones, instead of large southern facing panels. Certainly the HOA’s of the world would be much happier. But more importantly, this may represent the big break-through we’ve all been waiting for in solar energy that will make it much more financially viable as a local energy source.

This is of no small interest in a place like Arizona where the sunshine in the desert state, if harnessed, could really turn us into the OPEC of solar power in the US. (Assuming we can upgrade the nation’s electric grid into the hoped for smarter next generation one that is in development.)

Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

1 thought on “From organic entanglement to synthetic solar cells”

  1. very cool space! I love your taste and it looks like it’d be so much fun to poke around in there… I used to live in DE but am now in VA, but if I ever go back that way to visit family I’d love to see it in person 🙂

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