The physics, biology, and technology of resonance energy transfer

Event Dates: 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 10:00am

CTQM Seminar Type: 

  • Related Seminar Series

Speaker Name(s): 

Philip Nelson

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Pennsylvania

Abstract, Event Details: 

Coffee, tea and cookies will be available before regular colloquia beginning at 3:45 p.m. in DUAN G1B31.

Abstract: Resonance energy transfer has become an indispensable experimental tool for single-molecule and single-cell biophysics, and a conceptual tool to understand bioluminescence and photosynthesis. Its physical underpinnings, however, are subtle: It involves a discrete jump of excitation from one molecule to another, and so we regard it as a strongly quantum-mechanical process. And yet its first-order kinetics differ from what many of us were taught about two-state quantum systems; quantum superpositions of the states do not seem to arise; and so on. The key step involves acknowledging quantum decoherence.

Ref: P C Nelson, Biophys J 115: 167(2018) http://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2018.01.010