This project, led by William A. Lester, Jr. of LBNL and UC Berkeley, aims to increase understanding of the complex processes which occur during photosynthesis, the process by which plants and bacteria convert the sun's light into energy, taking in carbon dioxide and producing oxygen in the process. This project proposes to investigate the electronic structures behind a defense mechanism within the photosynthetic system that protects plants from absorbing more solar energy than they can immediately utilize, and, as a result, suffering from oxidation damage.
The systems of interest are the light harvesting protein II, LH-II, of Rs. Molischianum, and Photosystem I, PS I, of cyanobacteria. Caroteniods prevent the formation of singlet oxygen molecules by quenching the lowest triplet state of chlorophyll.
3Chl* + 1Car &rarr 1Chl + 3Car*
The main objective of this project is to determine the ground-to triplet-state energy difference of the carotenoids present in LH-II and PS I using Quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) methods.
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