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Photosystem I and its chlorophyll network

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Light is fundamental for life. Through many photosynthetic life forms, its energy fuels the major part of Earth's biosphere. The familiar green color of plants, so ubiquitous in our surroundings, stems from chlorophylls, molecules that help plants, algae, and some bacteria to harvest the sunlight. Recently, the structure of an apparatus that harvests sunlight in cyanobacteria, and actually in a similar fashion in plants, has been discovered, showing 96 chlorophylls being held at close distances by a protein complex. The chlorophylls absorb sunlight and deliver its energy to a central chlorophyll pair that utilizes it to electronically charge a cell membrane, the whole functioning like an extremely efficient biological solar cell. Quantum physics and a theoretical analysis of the energy utilization of the system, reported in a recent publication, have revealed that this system has been designed with a high degree of fault tolerance and optimality: pruning single and even multiple chlorophylls hardly affects the efficiency of the apparatus; altering the chlorophylls' arrangement though leads to a reduction of efficiency. Since the apparatus is naturally exposed to intense radiation and subject to continuous damage, its robustness is crucial for the organism.