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Interdisciplinary research project on photosynthesis


September 13, 2018

Photosynthesis – the transformation of light into chemical energy – is a process carried out not only by plants but also some algae and bacteria. An interdisciplinary research project at Jacobs University Bremen simulates this biological process using computers. “We want to develop a method that describes the process and that could then be transferred to other biological and artificial photo systems,” says Ulrich Kleinekathöfer, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Jacobs University.

Organisms harvest light in so-called antenna complexes, which is absorbed and transmitted as excitation energy. The researchers are investigating this only partially known process at the atomic and molecular level. “It is also interesting in particular because we have to bring together the most diverse method used in biology, chemistry, and physics, such as quantum mechanics,” says Kleinekathöfer. “Without them, it is impossible to describe biological processes in detail.”

Kleinekathöfer conducts the research project together with Marcus Elstner, Professor of Theoretical Chemical Biology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. It is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) over a period of three years with a total volume of 366,000 euros, of which 193,000 euros are allocated to Jacobs University. As part of the project, two doctoral positions will be created, one in Bremen and one in Karlsruhe. The official title of the project is: “Efficient methods for simulating the non-adiabatic dynamics of exciton transfer in light-harvesting complexes.”

Questions will be answered by:
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kleinekathöfer | Professor für Theoretische Physik
u.kleinekathoefer [at] | Tel.: +49 421 200- 3523