Energy conversion at the nanoscale: physical models for biological and bio-inspired structures

Physical and Analytical Chemistry Seminar

Lecturer: Prof. Lev Mourokh

30-30 Dec 2018 @ 12:30

Location: Faculty Seminar Room


Living objects at the nanoscale can be viewed as molecular complexes, whose dynamics is often controlled by the transfer of single charges or single-photon absorption events. In many senses, it is similar to the principles of operation of semiconductor nanostructures and elements of molecular electronics. Correspondingly, well-established methods of condensed matter and statistical physics can be applied.

In this talk, I address proton-pumping complexes and proton-driven nanomotor of the thylakoid and mitochondria membranes. These systems convert the energy obtained from the light or food to the proton gradient across the membrane, to the mechanical rotation of the nanomotor, and, finally, to the energy of chemical compounds. We propose simple physical models for these complexes which not only allow the quantitative description but can inspire the implementations in nanoelectronics as well. I also discuss some details of calculations which provide an interesting insight on the efficiency of charge or energy transfer.