Recent experiments suggest that electronic energy transfer in photosynthetic pigment-protein complexes involves long-lived quantum coherence among electronic excitations of pigments. [Engel et al., Nature, 2007, 446, 782–786.] The observation has led to the suggestion that quantum coherence might play a significant role in achieving the remarkable efficiency of photosynthetic light harvesting. At the same time, the observation has raised questions regarding the role of the surrounding protein in protecting the quantum coherence. In this Perspective, we provide an overview of recent experimental and theoretical investigations of photosynthetic electronic energy transfer paying particular attention to the underlying mechanisms of long-lived quantum coherence and its non-Markovian interplay with the protein environment.
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