Department of Physics Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2018

Publication Source

Biophysical Journal

Volume

115

Start Page

167

Last Page

172

DOI

10.1016/j.bpj.2018.01.010

Abstract

Resonance energy transfer has become an indispensable experimental tool for single-molecule and single-cell biophysics. Its physical underpin- nings, however, are subtle: It involves a discrete jump of excitation from one molecule to another, and so we regard it as a strongly quantum- mechanical process. And yet, its kinetics differ from what many of us were taught about two-state quantum systems; quantum superpositions of the states do not seem to arise; and so on. Although J. R. Oppenheimer and T. Förster navigated these subtleties successfully, it remains hard to find an elementary derivation in modern language. The key step involves acknowledging quantum decoherence. Appreciating that aspect can be helpful when we attempt to extend our understanding to situations where Fo ̈rster’s original analysis is not applicable.

Keywords

Forster resonance transfer, resonance energy transfer

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Date Posted:02 September 2018