Physics Colloquium - Prof. Philip Nelson

Physics Colloquium - Prof. Philip Nelson

"The physics, biology, and technology of resonance energy transfer."


April 23, 2018 -
3:00pm to 4:00pm


Marcus Nano


Rm 1116-1118


University of Pennsylvania


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 in press (2018).