Microfluidics Meets Ultrafast Spectroscopy: Lab-on-Chip Approach for Artificial Light Harvesting

M.S. Pchenitchnikov
University of Groningen,
Netherlands

Keywords: light-harvesting complexes, two-dimensional optical spectroscopy, microfluidics, nanostructures, functional materials

Summary:

The remarkable quantum efficiencies of natural light-harvesting complexes relies on a dense array of thousands of strongly coupled molecules giving rise to highly delocalized and mobile excited states, the excitons. Unravelling the nature of exciton transport properties is inevitable for potential applications, yet inherently challenging to obtain due to sheer complexity of the systems. Here we introduce a novel lab-on-a-chip approach that bridges the gap between in-situ control of the complexity of a supramolecular structure and advanced optical spectroscopy, combined with extensive theoretical simulations. We obtain a unified picture of the interplay between hierarchical sub-units of an artificial double-walled light-harvesting complex, structurally reminiscent to that found in the photosynthetic antenna complexes of green sulfur bacteria. Our findings show that an artificial light-harvesting complex is able to adapt to changing illumination conditions by mimicking the essential structural elements from nature’s design toolbox.