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Berkeley Lab Scientists Gain New Insight on Photosynthesis

October 1, 2004

Lynn Yarris
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Solar power remains the ultimate Olympic gold medal dream of a clean, efficient and sustainable source of energy. The problem has been that in order to replace fossil fuels, we need to get a lot more proficient at harvesting sunlight and converting it into energy. Nature has solved this problem through photosynthesis. All we have to do is emulate it. But first, we need a much better understanding of how photosynthesis works at the molecular and electronic levels.

“After working on the problem for about 3 billion years, nature has achieved an energy transfer efficiency of approximately 97 percent,” says Graham Fleming, director of Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division and an internationally acclaimed leader in spectroscopic studies of photosynthetic processes. “If we can get a complete understanding as to how this is done, creating artificial versions of photosynthesis should be possible.”

>> Read the full article (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory News)

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The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC serves almost 10,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in climate, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.