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News | Article | Quantum Physics | Photosynthesis
This appointment comes after more than 15 years of close scientific collaboration between Bruno Robert's team in CEA Paris-Saclay and the Physics Department of the University of Vilnius.
For about fifteen years, Bruno Robert's team and researchers from the Department of Physics at the University of Vilnius have been collaborating to elucidate the mystery of the first quantum steps of photosynthesis or the extraordinary capacity of plants to convert light energy into chemical energy. Concretely, measurements of the vibrational properties of the molecules involved in the primary stages of photosynthesis are carried out in Saclay, while researchers in Vilnius perform quantum mechanics calculations and modeling using DFT/TD-DFT methodologies (Density-Functional Theory/Time-Dependent DFT), which allow to link these measurements to structural properties and/or to the organization of the wave functions of fundamental and excited electronic states. Finally, in order to attribute the properties observed at Saclay not only to the structure of the excited states but also to the function of these molecules, ultrafast (femtosecond) absorption spectroscopy experiments are carried out in Vilnius by researchers from Bruno Robert's team. The University of Vilnius has just developed a measurement bench for 2D electron spectroscopy, a new method that allows high temporal (10 fs) and spectral resolution, which will be used in particular within the framework of this collaboration. "Our specificity remains the collection of light until the first chemical event. We are the only ones to apply vibrational spectroscopy methods to photosynthesis. They allow us to describe the system in great detail. " explained Bruno Robert in 2019, during an interview/portrait of the Paris-Saclay University.
Bruno Robert © CEA media library-2017
Bruno Robert will teach at the University of Vilnius in molecular physics, particularly on the physics of light-matter interactions, for Master and PhD students. For the anecdote, his nomination as Honoris causa Professor comes 1.5 months after that of the last Frenchman distinguished by the University of Vilnius, none other than Emmanuel Macron, president of the french republic, who was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris causa on September 29th, for the creation of the European Universities Initiative.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.