“Photosynthetic light harvesting is taking place in a system that is at room temperature and what’s more, its structure is disordered—very unlike the pristine crystallized materials and cold temperatures that you use to make exciton condensates,” explained Schouten.
This effect isn’t total—it’s more akin to “islands” of condensates forming, the scientists said. “But that’s still enough to enhance energy transfer in the system,” said Sager-Smith. In fact, their models suggest it can as much as double the efficiency.
This opens up some new possibilities for generating synthetic materials for future technology, Mazziotti said. “A perfect ideal exciton condensate is sensitive and requires a lot of special conditions, but for realistic applications, it’s exciting to see something that boosts efficiency but can happen in ambient conditions.”
This is one of those posts where I understand 99% of the words in isolation, but I need someone to put them together in a way that a 12 year-old can understand.
Anything having to do with quantum mechanics is usually pretty mind-bending. Quantum mechanics describes the activities of individual particles (quanta) of matter and energy on a very tiny scale using fancy math equations that often lead to conclusions that don’t seem reasonable compared with our everyday experience of the real world.
In the real world, transfers of energy are never totally 100% efficient. Some of the energy is always lost in the process. This is described as “resistance” in electrical circuits and “entropy” in chemistry.
The “holy grail” of perfect energy transfer is very difficult to achieve even in extreme lab conditions. (Like superconductivity near absolute zero temperature.)
Usually, atoms and subatomic particles act independently. Each does its own thing. Each would have a different equation describing its position, momentum, spin, etc. They don’t act together.
The Bose-Einstein condensate is a unique phase of matter where a group of separate particles all act alike. (They can all be described by the same equation.) In a sense, they actually ARE all the same entity because they all act identically. They are called “exciton condensates.” This allows them to transfer energy without loss. Very strange! And only seen at extremely low temperature.
The article in the OP describes a mathematical model which shows that plants might produce exciton condensates during photosynthesis. Now, plants are amazing chemists and photosynthesis is so complex that it is still not fully understood. But nobody has actually observed exciton condensates in plants. It’s still just a computer model.
But…if it turns out to be real (as many quantum mechanical predictions have) it could be very important. Anything that improves the efficiency of energy transfer, especially at room temperature, could have amazing practical applications.
Moshe Dayan said that had Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, read his treatise on desert warfare Israel might have lost the Six Day War. As I had become an atheist, at a dinner conversation I blurted out that the Encyclopaedia Brittanica came with a worthless Bible. My father said that this was a good book to read. Back then one did not disagree with one’s elders so I said nothing in reply but decades later I have to admit that he was right while I’m still or even more an Atheist. I have read Mein Kampf, what I could the Koran, Das Kapital put me to sleep.
I don’t recall reading Chomsky’s introduction, that was a long time ago.
You purchased this item on March 6, 2007.
Thank you, Amazon!
I had no idea about the author’s sexual preferences but I fail to see why that matters. I have met some very interesting non-standard people.
What I found interesting about No Gods No Masters were the words of the original Anarchists. I was astounded by the similarity to Ayn Rand’s philosophy which is supposed to the antithesis of Socialism. I found out that the villain of the plot was Karl Marx who perverted an otherwise sensible if not practical way of life.
I could go with fungal infections, metaphorically speaking or even mention how Tyrannosaurus Rex swam better than Michael Phelps or how UAPs were involved, but the reality is that I just thought it sounded funny.