Studying light-harvesting models with superconducting circuits

Anton Potočnik, Arno Bargerbos, Florian A.Y.N. Schröder, Saeed A. Khan, Michele C. Collodo, Simone Gasparinetti, Yves Salathé, Celestino Creatore, Christopher Eichler, Hakan E. Türeci, Alex W. Chin, Andreas Wallraff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


The process of photosynthesis, the main source of energy in the living world, converts sunlight into chemical energy. The high efficiency of this process is believed to be enabled by an interplay between the quantum nature of molecular structures in photosynthetic complexes and their interaction with the environment. Investigating these effects in biological samples is challenging due to their complex and disordered structure. Here we experimentally demonstrate a technique for studying photosynthetic models based on superconducting quantum circuits, which complements existing experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches. We demonstrate a high degree of freedom in design and experimental control of our approach based on a simplified three-site model of a pigment protein complex with realistic parameters scaled down in energy by a factor of 105. We show that the excitation transport between quantum-coherent sites disordered in energy can be enabled through the interaction with environmental noise. We also show that the efficiency of the process is maximized for structured noise resembling intramolecular phononic environments found in photosynthetic complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number904
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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