This perspective examines how hundreds of pigment molecules in purple bacteria cooperate through quantum coherence to achieve remarkable light harvesting efficiency. Quantum coherent sharing of excitation, which modifies excited state energy levels and combines transition dipole moments, enables rapid transfer of excitation over large distances. Purple bacteria exploit the resulting excitation transfer to engage many antenna proteins in light harvesting, thereby increasing the rate of photon absorption and energy conversion. We highlight here how quantum coherence comes about and plays a key role in the photosynthetic apparatus of purple bacteria.
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