We investigate the energy transfer dynamics in a donor-acceptor model by developing a time-local master equation technique based on a variational transformation of the underlying Hamiltonian. The variational transformation allows a minimisation of the Hamiltonian perturbation term dependent on the system parameters, and consequently results in a versatile master equation valid over a range of system-bath coupling strengths, temperatures, and environmental spectral densities. While our formalism reduces to the well-known Redfield, Frster and polaron forms in the appropriate limits, in general it is not equivalent to perturbing in either the system-environment or donor-acceptor coupling strengths, and hence can provide reliable results between these limits as well. Moreover, we show how to include the effects of both environmental correlations and non-equilibrium preparations within the formalism. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Photon Science Institute