Lessons from Nature for Light Harvesting

Rienk van Grondelle

Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam,The Netherlands

e-mail: rienk@few.vu.nl

URL: http://www.nat.vu.nl/~rienk/


The success of photosynthesis relies on two ultrafast processes: excitation energy transfer in the light-harvesting antenna followed by charge separation in the reaction center. Both processes occur with a quantum efficiency close to one, the natural system is highly adaptable, and self-protected. Crystal structure of a variety of light-harvesting complexes have become available over the last 15 years and many have been studied in great detail using ultrafast lasers and other advanced spectroscopic techniques. In this talk I will illustrate which 'design' lessons we have learned from nature that could inspire engineers to improve photosynthesis or in the construction of physical-chemical analogs.