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Title: Tensor network states simulations of exciton-phonon quantum dynamics for applications in artifcial light-harvesting
Author: Schroeder, Florian Alexander Yinkan Nepomuk
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 9953
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Light-harvesting in nature is known to work differently than conventional man-made solar cells. Recent studies found electronic excitations, delocalised over several chromophores, and a soft, vibrating structural environment to be key schemes that might protect and direct energy transfer yielding increased harvest efficiencies even under adversary conditions. Unfortunately, testing realistic models of noise assisted transport at the quantum level is challenging due to the intractable size of the environmental wave function. I developed a powerful tree tensor network states (TTNS) method that finds an optimally compressed explicit representation of the combined electronic and vibrational quantum state. With TTNS it is possible to simulate exciton-phonon quantum dynamics from small molecules to larger complexes, modelled as an open quantum system with multiple bosonic environments. After benchmarking the method on the minimal spin-boson model by reproducing ground state properties and dynamics that have been reported using other methods, the vibrational quantum state is harnessed to investigate environmental dynamics and its correlation with the spin system. To enable simulations of realistic non-Born-Oppenheimer molecular quantum dynamics, a clustering algorithm and novel entanglement renormalisation tensors are employed to interface TTNS with ab initio density functional theory (DFT). A thereby generated model of a pentacene dimer containing 252 vibrational normal modes was simulated with TTNS reproducing exciton dynamics in agreement with experimental results. Based on the environmental state, the (potential) energy surfaces, underlying the observed singlet fission dynamics, were calculated yielding unprecedented insight into the super-exchange mediated avoided crossing mechanism that produces ultrafast and high yield singlet fission. This combination of DFT and TTNS is a step towards large scale material exploration that can accurately predict excited states properties and dynamics. Furthermore, application to biomolecular systems, such as photosynthetic complexes, may give valuable insights into novel environmental engineering principles for the design of artificial light-harvesting systems.
Supervisor: Friend, Richard Henry Sponsor: Winton Programme for Sustainability in Physics ; EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Tensor network states ; Matrix Product States ; Quantum Mechanics ; Quantum Physics ; Photosynthesis ; Light-harvesting ; Spin-Boson Model ; LH2 ; TTNS ; Tree Tensor Network States ; Quantum Simulation ; Time Evolution ; TDVP ; Variational Principle