Quantum jumping

Researchers who want to develop better solar panels drool over how efficiently chloroplast proteins convert light into energy. We froze the two rings of the photon-capturing machinery down to 1°K to keep it stable. We then watched as the energy hops between molecules of the loosely packed ring (dark orange), but when it's excited further, the energy jumps to the tightly packed ring of 18 pigments (light orange), and is smeared across them. Now the energy is everywhere at once.

Antoine van Oijen
May 1, 2008

Researchers who want to develop better solar panels drool over how efficiently chloroplast proteins convert light into energy. We froze the two rings of the photon-capturing machinery down to 1°K to keep it stable. We then watched as the energy hops between molecules of the loosely packed ring (dark orange), but when it's excited further, the energy jumps to the tightly packed ring of 18 pigments (light orange), and is smeared across them. Now the energy is everywhere at once.