Dephasing-assisted transport: quantum networks and biomolecules
Transport phenomena are fundamental in physics. They allow for information and energy to be exchanged between individual constituents of communication systems, networks or even biological entities. Environmental noise will generally hinder the efficiency of the transport process. However, and contrary to intuition, there are situations in classical systems where thermal fluctuations are actually instrumental in assisting transport phenomena. Here we show that, even at zero temperature, transport of excitations across dissipative quantum networks can be enhanced by local dephasing noise. We explain the underlying physical mechanisms behind this phenomenon and propose possible experimental demonstrations in quantum optics. Our results suggest that the presence of entanglement does not play an essential role for energy transport and may even hinder it. We argue that Nature may be routinely exploiting dephasing noise and show that the transport of excitations in simplified models of light harvesting molecules does benefit from such noise assisted processes. These results point toward the possibility for designing optimized structures for transport, for example in artificial nanostructures, assisted by noise.