Journal of Mathematical Chemistry

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 866–917 | Cite as

Dynamics of a chlorophyll dimer in collective and local thermal environments

  • M. Merkli
  • G. P. Berman
  • R. T. Sayre
  • S. Gnanakaran
  • M. Könenberg
  • A. I. Nesterov
  • H. Song
Original Paper


We present a theoretical analysis of exciton transfer and decoherence effects in a photosynthetic dimer interacting with collective (correlated) and local (uncorrelated) protein-solvent environments. Our approach is based on the framework of the spin-boson model. We derive explicitly the thermal relaxation and decoherence rates of the exciton transfer process, valid for arbitrary temperatures and for arbitrary (in particular, large) interaction constants between the dimer and the environments. We establish a generalization of the Marcus formula, giving reaction rates for dimer levels possibly individually and asymmetrically coupled to environments. We identify rigorously parameter regimes for the validity of the generalized Marcus formula. The existence of long living quantum coherences at ambient temperatures emerges naturally from our approach.


Light-harvesting photosynthetic complex Photosynthetic dimer Exciton transfer Transfer rate Relaxation rate Decoherence rate Marcus formula Local environment Collective environment Strong environment coupling Open quantum systems Dynamical quantum resonance theory 



This work was carried out under the auspices of the National Nuclear Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy at Los Alamos National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396. M.M. and H.S. have been supported by NSERC through a Discovery Grant and a Discovery Accelerator Supplement. M.M. is grateful for the hospitality and financial support of LANL, where part of this work was carried out. A.I.N. acknowledges support from the CONACyT, Grant No. 15349 and partial support during his visit from the Biology Division, B-11, at LANL. G.P.B, S.G., and R.T.S. acknowledge support from the LDRD program at LANL.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Merkli
    • 1
  • G. P. Berman
    • 2
  • R. T. Sayre
    • 3
  • S. Gnanakaran
    • 4
  • M. Könenberg
    • 1
    • 5
  • A. I. Nesterov
    • 6
  • H. Song
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Theoretical DivisionLos Alamos National Laboratory, and the New Mexico ConsortiumLos AlamosUSA
  3. 3.Biological Division, B-11Los Alamos National Laboratory and the New Mexico ConsortiumLos AlamosUSA
  4. 4.Theoretical DivisionLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA
  5. 5.Fachbereich MathematikUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  6. 6.Departamento de FisicaCUCEI, Universidad de GuadalajaraGuadalajaraMexico
  7. 7.Tianjin University of TechnologyTianjinChina

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