Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light harvesting complexes
Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light harvesting complexes


Light harvesting components of photosynthetic organisms are complex, coupled, many-body quantum systems, in which electronic coherence has recently been shown to survive for relatively long time scales despite the decohering effects of their environments. Within this context, we analyze entanglement in multi-chromophoric light harvesting complexes, and establish methods for quantification of entanglement by presenting necessary and sufficient conditions for entanglement and by deriving a measure of global entanglement. These methods are then applied to the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) protein to extract the initial state and temperature dependencies of entanglement. We show that while FMO in natural conditions largely contains bipartite entanglement between dimerized chromophores, a small amount of long-range and multipartite entanglement exists even at physiological temperatures. This constitutes the first rigorous quantification of entanglement in a biological system. Finally, we discuss the practical utilization of entanglement in densely packed molecular aggregates such as light harvesting complexes.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View