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The physics, biology, and technology of resonance energy transfer

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • Duane Physics Room G1B20

Speaker Name(s): 

Philip Nelson

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Pennsylvania
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Physics Department Colloquium

Event Details & Abstract: 

Coffee, tea and cookies will be available before regular colloquia beginning at 3:45 p.m. in DUAN G1B31.

Abstract: Resonance energy transfer has become an indispensable experimental tool for single-molecule and single-cell biophysics, and a conceptual tool to understand bioluminescence and photosynthesis. Its physical underpinnings, however, are subtle: It involves a discrete jump of excitation from one molecule to another, and so we regard it as a strongly quantum-mechanical process. And yet its first-order kinetics differ from what many of us were taught about two-state quantum systems; quantum superpositions of the states do not seem to arise; and so on. The key step involves acknowledging quantum decoherence.

Ref: P C Nelson, Biophys J 115: 167(2018) http://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2018.01.010

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