The simplicity of robust light harvesting


Photosynthetic light harvesting can achieve a quantum efficiency that approaches 100% (that is, the conversion of 100 photons of light into 100 chemically available electrons), and yet it displays notable robustness in the face of ever-changing external light conditions. Although light harvesting varies in structure and composition across the range of photosynthetic life, there is an ongoing effort to uncover a set of common “design” principles for these systems. On page 1490 of this issue, Arp et al. (1) have revealed the first hints of a simple, seemingly universal set of rules that define the robustness of natural light harvesters. These rules should inform the design of future solar technology.

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