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In a quantum system coupled with a wet environment, such as in photosynthesis (and here), how can one intuitively explain that the decoherence gives a positive effect to the efficiency? Is it acceptable to say that this effect is because decoherence increases the directionality of transport?

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  • $\begingroup$ Note that in the paper, it's a specific kind of decoherence (namely, pure dephasing) that increases transport. As they mention in the abstract, highly incoherent transport is suppressed by the quantum Zeno effect. So that could be a clue. $\endgroup$ – probably_someone Dec 8 '17 at 7:02
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    $\begingroup$ The paper explains that environmental noise has different qualitative effects on quantum transport, including positive ones when the dephasing it causes allows the virtual particles hopping from site to site in a molecule to get unstuck from beating patterns. It appears that the most interesting noise effects happen at room temperature. So my guess is that there is nothing really intuitive in that complex behavior, but rather that darwinian evolution has tweaked the quantum chemistry of this particular molecular system pretty neatly. $\endgroup$ – Stéphane Rollandin Jan 14 '18 at 19:12

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