Quantum coherence in photosynthesis
Scholes, Gregory D. Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- Photosynthetic process
- Molecules capture energy from light
- Energy transfer from molecule to molecule
- Quantum mechanics makes molecules share excitation
- “Imaging” of quantum-coherent energy sharing
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Photosynthetic organisms include trees, plants, grasses, ferns, mosses, algae, seaweeds, and certain special bacteria. What they share in common is the ability to capture energy from sunlight and use it to drive biochemical reactions that enable the organism to grow. In other words, photosynthesis uses water, carbon dioxide, and the energy of the Sun to produce biomass. That biomass forms the base of food chains all over Earth and is produced on an astounding scale: Every hour, about 12 million tons of biomass are produced through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis does not occur just on land; half of the photosynthetic biomass worldwide is produced in oceans and lakes. Moreover, because oxygen is a by-product of most photosynthetic organisms, the impact of photosynthesis on our environment is of immense importance. Indeed, all the oxygen in our atmosphere derives from this incredible machinery that has evolved to make food from carbon dioxide and water.
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