Any process in nature involves to a certain extent some type of energy transfer. From an engineering point of view, certain processes of energy transfer are undesired but still inevitable, as, for instance, energy dissipation in electromechanical systems; whereas other processes are desired and highly beneficial to the design objectives, the classical example from mechanical engineering being the addition of a vibration absorber to a machine for eliminating unwanted disturbances.

Targeted energy transfers (TETs), where energy of some form is directed from a source (donor) to a receiver (recipient) in a one-way irreversible fashion, govern a broad range of physical phenomena. One basic example of TET in nature, is resonance-driven solar energy harvesting governing photosythesis (Jenkins et al., 2004), where energy from the Sun is captured by photobiological antenna chro-mophores and is then transferred to reaction centers through a series of interactions between chromophore units (van Amerongen et al., 2000; Renger et al., 2001). In addition, basic problems in biopolymers concern energy self-focusing, localization and transport (Kopidakis et al., 2001), with applications in photosynthesis (Hu et al., 1998) and bioenergetic processes (Julicher et al., 1997).


Energy Transfer Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Resonance Energy Transfer Internal Resonance Ambient Vibration 
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