On the performance of a photosystem II reaction centre-based photocell

Richard Stones, Hoda Hossein-Nejad, Rienk van Grondelle, Alexandra Olaya-Castro

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The photosystem II reaction centre is the photosynthetic complex responsible for oxygen production on Earth. Its water splitting function is particularly favoured by the formation of a stable charge separated state via a pathway that starts at an accessory chlorophyll. Here we envision a photovoltaic device that places one of these complexes between electrodes and investigate how the mean current and its fluctuations depend on the microscopic interactions underlying charge separation in the pathway considered. Our results indicate that coupling to well resolved vibrational modes does not necessarily offer an advantage in terms of power output but can lead to photo-currents with suppressed noise levels characterizing a multi-step ordered transport process. Besides giving insight into the suitability of these complexes for molecular-scale photovoltaics, our work suggests a new possible biological function for the vibrational environment of photosynthetic reaction centres, namely, to reduce the intrinsic current noise for regulatory processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6871-6880
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


The authors would like to thank Clive Emary, Elisabet Romero, Vladimir Novoredezkin and Jeroem Elzerman for helpful discussions. Financial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC UK) Grant EP/ G005222/1 and from the EU FP7 Project PAPETS (GA 323901) is gratefully acknowledged.

FundersFunder number
Seventh Framework Programme323901
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research CouncilEP/ G005222/1


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