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Organised by Dr Alexandra Olaya-Castro, Dr Ahsan Nazir and Professor Graham Fleming FRS
Evidence that photosynthetic systems are capable of supporting quantum-coherent energy transport at high temperatures has generated controversy over the implications of such phenomena for biology and applications. This meeting will bring together leading scientists from photosynthesis, quantum information, and organic-polymer based research to discuss far-reaching consequences of these quantum effects in the design of novel, robust and efficient energy technologies.
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Biographies and audio recordings are available below.
Dr Alexandra Olaya-Castro, University College London, UKOrganiser
Dr Alexandra Olaya-Castro is an EPSRC Career Acceleration Research Fellow based in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of University College London (UCL). Her research aims at the theoretical understanding of possible roles of quantum phenomena in biological environments. She is currently investigating quantum dynamics in photosynthetic light-harvesting systems and the variations of these quantum properties when spectral and structural adaptations occur. She finished her doctorate in Physics at the University of Oxford in 2005 and moved to UCL in 2008 after holding a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Oxford.
Dr Ahsan Nazir, Imperial College London, UKOrganiser
Ahsan Nazir is an Imperial College Junior Research Fellow in the Quantum Information Theory Group at Imperial College London. His primary research interests are based around understanding the delicate interplay of quantum coherence and noise in open quantum systems. In particular, he has developed and applied open system models in a number of areas, including both solid-state quantum information processing and quantum biology. He received his D.Phil in 2004 from the University of Oxford, for theoretical work on schemes for quantum information processing in semiconductor nanostructures. He then held Research Fellowships at Griffith University, Brisbane, and University College London, before joining Imperial College in January 2011.
Professor Graham Fleming FRS, University of California Berkeley, USACoherence effects in photosynthetic light harvesting
Graham Fleming currently serves as UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Research, a position which he assumed in April 2009. Fleming served as the Deputy Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 2005 through 2007. Through joint appointments as Melvin Calvin Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, and Founding Director of both the Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division and UC Berkeley’s California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), he has re-shaped the intersection of physical and biological sciences, while maintaining his own investigations into ultrafast chemical and biological processes, in particular, the primary steps of photosynthesis. Throughout his administrative career, Fleming has remained a highly active scientific researcher. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 publications, and is widely considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on ultrafast processes. In addition to his many other activities, Fleming has given numerous talks around the world on the inter-relation and inter-complexity of energy, climate and photosynthesis. In 2007, Fleming led the effort (with co-chair Mark Ratner) to define Grand Challenges in Basic Energy Science for DOE/BES, resulting in “Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination.”
WelcomeDr Alexandra Olaya-Castro, University College London, UK
Professor Sir Richard Friend FRS, University of Cambridge, UKCharge generation from excitons in molecular semiconductors
Richard Friend is the Cavendish Professor of Physics in the University of Cambridge, since 1980. He has pioneered the study of organic polymers as semiconductors, and his research group has demonstrated that these materials can be used in wide range of semiconductor devices, including light-emitting diodes and transistors. He co-founded Cambridge Display Technology Ltd in 1992 to develop light-emitting diode displays and Plastic Logic Ltd in 2000, to develop polymer transistor circuits that are now being developed as flexible active-matrix backplanes for e-paper displays. He is currently working on organic thin-film solar cells.
Professor Robert Silbey, MIT, USAFundamental aspects of electronic energy transfer
Bob Silbey is the Class of ’42 Professor of Chemistry at MIT, where he has taught and done research for the past 44 years. He did his Ph.D. research at the University of Chicago, a postdoctoral year at the University of Wisconsin before joining the MIT faculty. Silbey’s theoretical research has been concerned with problems having to do with electronic energy transport in solids: exciton energy levels, transport, spectral lineshapes, and phonon scattering. In the past decade, he has also been interested in the description of both single molecule spectroscopy and ultra-fast spectroscopy. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the Royal Society of Chemistry. For recreation, he sails his 34’ sailboat in the waters off Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Professor Martin Plenio, Ulm University, GermanyQuantum Information science meets Biology
Martin Plenio received his Diploma and Doctorate from the University Göttingen in 1992 and 1994 respectively. From 1995 t o 1997 he held a Feodor-Lynen fellowship at Imperial College where he joined the academic staff in 1998 as a Lecturer. In 2003 he became Professor of Quantum Physics. Following the award of an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship he joined Ulm University as Director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics in 2009 but remains part-time Professor at Imperial College London. In his scientific work Plenio has made important contributions to entanglement theory, the implementation of quantum information processing and quantum simulation with atoms, ions and photons, noise assisted quantum processes and more recently also the exploration of quantum effects in biology. Plenio has published 160 articles in refereed journals which have received more than 8000 citations. For his work he was awarded the Maxwell Medal and Prize of the IOP for 2004, a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2005 and the Royal Society Clifford Paterson Lecture for 2008 and an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship in 2009.
Professor Valeria Kleiman, University of Florida, USAUnderstanding excited state dynamics using quantum control tools
Professor Shaul Mukamel, University of California Irvine, USACoherent multidimensional optical spectroscopy of excitons with classical fields and entangled photons
Shaul Mukamel, currently the Chancellor Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine, received his Ph.D. in 1976 from Tel Aviv University. Following postdoctoral appointments at MIT and the University of California, Berkeley, he has held faculty positions at Rice University, the Weizmann Institute, and the University of Rochester. He is the recipient of the Sloan, Dreyfus, Guggenheim, and Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist award, the OSA Lippincort Award and the APS Plyler Award for Molecular Spectroscopy. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America. His interests focus on developing computational techniques for the design of novel ultrafast laser pulse sequences for probing electronic and vibrational dynamics in molecules. Biophysical applications include folding and dynamical fluctuations in proteins, hydrogen bonding, long-range electron and energy transfer in photosynthetic complexes, and signatures of chirality. Other areas are attosecond x-ray spectroscopy, excitons in semiconductor nanostructures, many-body effects in quantum optics. He is the author of over 650 publications in scientific journals and the textbook, Principles of Nonlinear Optical Spectroscopy (Oxford University Press, 1995).
Professor Richard Cogdell FRS, Glasgow University, UKPhotosynthesis and how to convert solar energy into fuels
Richard Cogdell is the Hooker Professor of Botany at Glasgow University. He obtained his PhD from the University of Bristol in 1973. Then after a Post-Doctoral period in the US at Cornell University and the University of Washington he returned to an academic position at Glasgow in 1975. He has been an active researcher in the area of the primary reactions of purple bacterial photosynthesis for more than 40 years. At Glasgow the main focus of his research has been to determine the structure and function of the purple bacterial light harvesting complexes. More recently he has been trying to use photosynthesis as a model to devise robust artificial systems capable of using solar energy to make fuels.
Professor Greg Engel, University of Chicago, USAQuantum coherence and quantum transport in photosynthetic antenna complexes
Greg Engel received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1999 and completed his doctoral work at Harvard University in 2004. At Harvard, he studied atmospheric chemistry with Professor Jim Anderson. In 2005, he moved to UC Berkeley at a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow and worked with Graham Fleming's group to study ultrafast dynamics of photosynthetic energy transport. In collaboration with the Fleming group, Engel worked on the initial experiments demonstrating quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems. In 2007, Engel moved to the University of Chicago as an Assistant Professor where his group studies the dynamics and control of excited state reactivity.
Professor Yoshitaka Tanimura, Kyoto University, JapanTheory of energy transfer beyond perturbative treatments
Yoshitaka Tanimura received his Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor Ryogo Kubo at Department of Physics from Keio University in 1989. He was at the University of Illinois and the University of Rochester as a postdoctoral fellow of Professor Peter G. Wolynes and Professor Shaul Mukamel, respectively. Then he spent nine years as associate professor at the Institute for Molecular Science before joining the faculty at Kyoto University in 2003. Research in his group is broadly concerned with the dynamic theory of processes of chemical interest in condensed matter. He developed theoretical descriptions and simulation methods based on the reduced hierarchy equations of motion and path integral formulation to investigate tunneling phenomena, electron transfer reactions, and ultrafast nonlinear optical spectroscopy of molecular system in condensed-phase and biological systems. Based upon one of his expressions, he proposed high order multidimensional vibrational spectroscopy in 1993. This spectroscopy gives direct information on the anharmonic motions of molecules and provides a unique probe of quantum dynamics in condensed phase. This work stimulated an entirely new field of spectroscopy.
Dr Markus Tiersch, University of Innsbruck, AustriaTransport and entanglement in model systems of photosynthesis
Professor Seth Lloyd, MIT, USAThe quantum Goldilocks principle
Seth Lloyd was the first person to develop a realizable model for quantum computation and is working with a variety of groups to construct and operate quantum computers and quantum communication systems. Dr. Lloyd's interests include the application of information theory to physical systems, quantum coherence in photosynthesis, and the characterization of complex systems. He is the author of over a hundred scientific papers, and of `Programming the Universe,' (Knopf, 2004). Dr. Lloyd is a professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, and an adjunct faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute. He is currently the director of the W.M. Keck Center for Extreme Quantum Information Theory (xQIT) at MIT.
Dr Laura Herz, University of Oxford, UK Excitation dynamics in polymers
Laura Herz is a Reader in Physics at the University of Oxford and a Tutorial Fellow at Brasenose College. She received her PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge in 2002 and was a Research Fellow at St John's College Cambridge from 2001 - 2003 after which she moved to Oxford. Her research interests lie in the area of organic and organic/inorganic hybrid semiconductors including aspects such as self-assembly, nano-scale effects, energy-transfer and light-harvesting for solar energy conversion.
Professor Dongho Kim, Yonsei University, KoreaThe role of electronic couplings in excitation energy transfer processes of various molecular assemblies
Dongho Kim received his B.S. (1980) from Seoul National University and Ph.D. (1984) from Washington University. After postdoctoral research at Princeton University, he joined the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (1986). In 2000, he moved to Yonsei University as a Professor of Chemistry. He received the Scientist of the Month Award (1999), the Sigma-Aldrich Award (2005), the Korea Science Award in Chemistry (2006), and the Star Faculty Award (2006) and was selected as the Underwood Professor at Yonsei University (2007). Since 2002, he has been a fellow of The Korea Academy of Science and Technology. Currently, he is leading the Center for Smart Nano-Conjugates through the World Class University Program. His research activity is focused on the experimental investigation of pi-conjugated molecular systems such as porphyrin, pyrene, perylenebisimide, thiophene, and their assemblies with particular interest in excitation dynamics both in ensemble and at single-molecule level. He has coauthored more than 300 articles and about 15 reviews in journals and book publication.
Professor Gregory Scholes, University of Toronto, CanadaLessons from nature about solar light-harvesting
Greg Scholes is a Full Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Chemistry. He undertook his PhD studies at the University of Melbourne, then spent time at Imperial College London as a Ramsay Memorial research fellow (Prof David Phillips), then pursued further postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley (Prof Graham Fleming). His present research concerns the study of light-initiated energy and electron transfer processes in systems ranging from semiconductor nanocrystals to conjugated polymers to photosynthetic light-harvesting proteins. Recent awards include election to the Academy of Science, Royal Society of Canada in 2009. Dr. Scholes serves as a Senior Editor for the Journal of Physical Chemistry.
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