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Quantum Biophysics 1

Module PH2021

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Basic Information

PH2021 is a semester module in German or English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 75 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2021 is Philipp Scherer.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


  • free electron model for Pi-electron systems
  • one electron orbitals
  • many-electron wavefunctions
  • approximate MO methods
  • electrostatic interactions of molecules
  • Born-Oppenheimer separation and nonadiabatic coupling
  • Harmonic approximation and normal modes of the nuclear motion
  • optical transitions in molecular systems
  • spectra of Chlorophylls and Carotenoids
  • excitonic coupling and energy transfer
  • light harvesting complexes and reaction centers of photosynthesis
  • theoretical description of electron and proton transfer processes
  • excited state dynamics and rate expressions
  • theoretical principles of BioMolecular spectroscopy

Learning Outcome

After participation in the Module the students understand the principles of the quantum mechanical calculation of molecular properties. They are able to apply the free electron model and the Hückel MO model to important biological chromophores and to understand the origin of their strong absorption bands in the visible spectral region. They understand the fundamentals of modern quantum chemical programs and their application to Biomolecules. They know basic models for energy transfer in excitonically coupled molecular systems and are able to describe such systems with simple quantum mechanical models. They understand the description of important elementary processes like absorption and emission of photons, radiationless transitions, electron and proton transfer.


elementary quantum mechanics

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VU 4 Quantum Biophysics 1 singular or moved dates
and dates in groups

Learning and Teaching Methods

lecture, beamer presentation, board work


accompanying internet site, lecture notes, numerical exercises


  • P.Scherer & S.Fischer, Theoretical molecular biophysics, Springer 2010
  • lecture notes ( online)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 60 minutes.

Remarks on associated module exams

The exam for this module can be taken together with the exam to the associated follow-up module PH2022: Quantenbiophysik 2 / Quantum Biophysics 2 after the follwoing semester. In this case you need to register for both exams in the following semester.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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