In photosynthesis, plants and some bacteria convert sunlight into electrochemical energy with the help of molecule complexes rich in chlorophyll. A special quantum effect – a particularly long-lasting, stimulated quantum state – has become the center of attention in recent years. These special states are supposedly responsible for the transfer of energy within the molecular complexes, and thus for the high level of efficiency.
The researchers created a model system in the laboratory. Instead of chlorophyll, they use cyanide dye molecules which then make up tube-like molecule complexes. The reason for the efficiency of photosynthesis is the link between vibration and electronic stimuli enabling the quick and efficient transfer of light energy in the molecular groups.
The scientists hope to develop better solar cells as a result of this improved understanding of photosynthesis. These cells should have similarly good properties as the biological power stations of the cells.