Quantum-enhanced Capture Of Photons Using Optical Ratchet States

Kieran D. B. Higgins, Brendon W. Lovett, E. M. Gauger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


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 therefore paramount to prevent excitons from annihilation via photon re-emission until they have undergone an irreversible conversion process. Taking inspiration from photosynthetic antenna structures, we here consider ring-like 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 whilst retaining the excitations from those that have already been captured. Simulations for a ring of four sites reveal a peak power enhancement of 35% under ambient conditions owing to a combination of ratcheting and the prevention of emission through dark state population. In the slow extraction limit the achievable current enhancement exceeds hundreds of percent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20714–20719
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number38
Early online date23 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2017


  • quant-ph
  • cond-mat.mes-hall


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