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Organic Light-Harvesting Antennae

Combining computational techniques from materials science with computational thinking from quantum chemistry, Alfredo Alexander Katz (Material Science, MIT) and Alán Aspuru-Guzik (Quantum Chemistry, Harvard) are exploring radical new ways of generating energy from light.

Typically plants need an average of at least a few hundred watts per square meter of solar radiation to survive. At depths of a few hundred meters down in the ocean, the amount of solar radiation decays to around a millionth of the surface intensity so that photosynthesizing organisms, at such depths only receive 10-4 Wm-2 of radiation. Aspuru-Guzik and Alexander-Katz are studying the properties of a photosynthetic bacteria (Chlorobium Tepidum, also known as Green sulfur bacteria) that manages to survive in this low-energy environment. Their work seeks to understand the interplay between biomolecular structure and efficient light-harvesting on the quantum scale and how this could lead to radical new approaches to energy generation. In this video, Alfredo and Alan describe more about their collaboration and the new science it is enabling.

Alfredo Alexander Katz and Alán Aspuru-Guzik
Alfredo Alexander Katz (MIT) and Alán Aspuru-Guzik (Harvard)

Research projects

Dusty With a Chance of Star Formation
Checking the Medicine Cabinet to Interrupt COVID-19 at the Molecular Level
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold But Still, Is It Just Right?​
Smashing Discoveries​
Microbiome Pattern Hunting
Modeling the Air we Breathe
Exploring Phytoplankton Diversity
The Computer Will See You Now
Computing the Toll of Trapped Diamondback Terrapins
Edging Towards a Greener Future
Physics-driven Drug Discovery
Modeling Plasma-Surface Interactions
Sensing Subduction Zones
Neural Networks & Earthquakes
Small Stars, Smaller Planets, Big Computing
Data Visualization using Climate Reanalyzer
Getting to Grips with Glassy Materials
Modeling Molecular Engines
Forest Mapping: When the Budworms come to Dinner
Exploring Thermoelectric Behavior at the Nanoscale
The Trickiness of Talking to Computers
A Genomic Take on Geobiology
From Grass to Gas
Teaching Computers to Identify Odors
From Games to Brains
The Trouble with Turbulence
A New Twist
A Little Bit of This... A Little Bit of That..
Looking Like an Alien!
Locking Up Computing
Modeling Supernovae
Sound Solution
Lessons in a Virtual Test Tube​
Higgs Boson Spotted in Holyoke?
Crack Computing
Automated Real-time Medical Imaging Analysis
Towards a Smarter Greener Grid
Heading Off Head Blight
Organic Light-Harvesting Antennae
Art and AI
Excited by Photons
Tapping into an Ocean of Data
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