Quantum-enhanced capture of photons using optical ratchet states

Kieran Higgins, Brendon William Lovett, Erik Gauger

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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Natural and artificial light harvesting systems often operate in a regime where the flux of photons is relatively low. Besides absorbing as many photons as possible, it is paramount to prevent excitons from annihilation via photon re-emission until they have undergone an irreversible energy conversion process. Taking inspiration from photosynthetic antenna structures, we here consider ringlike systems and introduce a class of states we call ratchets: excited states capable of absorbing but not emitting light. This allows our antennae to absorb further photons while retaining the excitations from those that have already been captured. Simulations for a ring of four sites reveal a peak power enhancement by up to a factor of 35 owing to a combination of ratcheting and the prevention of emission through dark-state population. In the slow extraction limit, the achievable power enhancement due to ratcheting alone exceeds 20%.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20714–20719
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number38
Early online date23 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2017


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