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One of the major efforts in the quantum biological program is to subject biological systems to standard tests or measures of quantumness. These tests and measures should elucidate whether nontrivial quantum effects may be present in biological systems. Two such measures of quantum correlations are the quantum discord and the relative entropy of entanglement. Here, we show that the relative entropy of entanglement admits a simple analytic form when dynamics and accessible degrees of freedom are restricted to a zero- and single-excitation subspace. We also simulate and calculate the amount of quantum discord that is present in the Fenna-Matthews-Olson protein complex during the transfer of an excitation from a chlorosome antenna to a reaction center. We find that the single-excitation quantum discord and single-excitation relative entropy of entanglement are equal for all of our numerical simulations, but a proof of their general equality for this setting evades us for now. Also, some of our simulations demonstrate that the relative entropy of entanglement without the single-excitation restriction is much lower than the quantum discord. The first picosecond of dynamics is the relevant time scale for the transfer of the excitation, according to some sources in the literature. Our simulation results indicate that quantum correlations contribute a significant fraction of the total correlation during this first picosecond in many cases, at both cryogenic and physiological temperatures. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics