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Site-Dependent Fluctuations Optimize Electronic Energy Transfer in the Fenna–Matthews–Olson Protein


Light absorbed by light-harvesting antennae is transferred to the reaction center (RC). The excitation energy transfer (EET) to the RC is known to proceed with nearly perfect quantum yield. However, understanding of EET is still limited at the molecular level. Here, we examine the dynamics in the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) protein by developing an efficient molecular dynamics simulation that can properly describe the electronic properties of bacteriochlorophylls. We find that the FMO protein consists of sites with heterogeneous fluctuations extending from fast to slow modulation. We also find that efficient EETs are facilitated by site-dependent fluctuations that enhance the resonance condition between neighboring sites with large site energy differences and circumvent exciton trapping on the pathway to the RC. Knowledge of site-dependent fluctuations is an important component of understanding optimization of EET in photosynthetic systems.

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