Harvesting Light beyond Classical Limits

Harvesting and distributing energy are two of the major challenges faced by society. In Nature, these processes are crucial for all forms of life, and have been fine-tuned within living organisms for hundreds of millions of years [1].

On the atomic scale, energy is "quantised", e.g. as a photon of light, and its behaviour is governed by quantum mechanics. Taking inspiration from the ingenious solutions found in Nature, in this project you will explore novel ways of harnessing quantum effects in artificial, "quantum-engineered" devices and molecules [2]. This will involve applying and deriving suitable open quantum systems approaches for modelling the properties of quantum many body systems in realistic condensed matter environments.

Starting with the light harvesting step, the aim of this project is to develop blueprints for highly efficient energy harvesters based on condensed matter quantum nanostructures [3].

This project will be based at Heriot-Watt, jointly supervised by Erik Gauger and Brendon Lovett.

References and further reading:

[1] Quantum Biology. Lambert et al., Nature Physics 9, 10-18 (2013)

[2] Superabsorption of Light via Quantum Engineering. Higgins et al., Nature Communications 5, 4705 (2014)

[3] Efficient biologically inspired photocell enhanced by delocalized quantum states. Creatore et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 253601 (2013)

Please send inquiry emails to Dr. Erik Gauger at E.Gauger@hw.ac.uk or Dr. Brendon Lovett (St Andrews) at bwl4@st-andrews.ac.uk