Observation of excitonic quantum beats in photosynthetic antennae has prompted wide debate regarding the function of excitonic coherence in pigment-protein complexes. Much of this work focuses on the interactions of excitons with the femto-to-picosecond dynamical fluctuations of their environment. However, in experiments these effects can be masked by static disorder of the excited-state energies across ensembles, whose microscopic origins are challenging to predict. Here the excited-state properties of ∼2000 atom clusters of the Fenna-Matthews-Olson complex are simulated using a unique combination of linear-scaling density functional theory and constrained geometric dynamics. While slow, large amplitude protein motion leads to large variations in the Qy transitions of two pigments, we identify pigment-protein correlations that greatly reduce variations in the energy gap across the ensemble, which is consistent with experimental observations of suppressed inhomogeneous dephasing of quantum beats.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)