Navigation Links
Scientists find quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis
Date:2/3/2010

TORONTO, ON A team of University of Toronto chemists have made a major contribution to the emerging field of quantum biology, observing quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis in marine algae.

"There's been a lot of excitement and speculation that nature may be using quantum mechanical practices," says chemistry professor Greg Scholes, lead author of a new study published this week in Nature. "Our latest experiments show that normally functioning biological systems have the capacity to use quantum mechanics in order to optimize a process as essential to their survival as photosynthesis."

Special proteins called light-harvesting complexes are used in photosynthesis to capture sunlight and funnel its energy to nature's solar cells other proteins known as reaction centres. Scholes and his colleagues isolated light-harvesting complexes from two different species of marine algae and studied their function under natural temperature conditions using a sophisticated laser experiment known as two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy.

"We stimulated the proteins with femtosecond laser pulses to mimic the absorption of sunlight," explains Scholes. "This enabled us to monitor the subsequent processes, including the movement of energy between special molecules bound in the protein, against a stop-clock. We were astonished to find clear evidence of long-lived quantum mechanical states involved in moving the energy. Our result suggests that the energy of absorbed light resides in two places at once a quantum superposition state, or coherence and such a state lies at the heart of quantum mechanical theory."

"This and other recent discoveries have captured the attention of researchers for several reasons," says Scholes. "First, it means that quantum mechanical probability laws can prevail over the classical laws of kinetics in this complex biological system, even at normal temperatures. The energy can thereby flow efficiently bycounter intuitivelytraversing several alternative paths through the antenna proteins simultaneously. It also raises some other potentially fascinating questions, such as, have these organisms developed quantum-mechanical strategies for light-harvesting to gain an evolutionary advantage? It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two billion years before humans," says Scholes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sean Bettam
s.bettam@utoronto.ca
416-534-5820
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/10/2016)... Pa. , March 10, 2016   Unisys Corporation ... Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing its biometric ... San Diego to help identify certain non-U.S. ... . The test, designed to help determine the efficiency ... environment, began in February and will run until May 2016. ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... , March 9, 2016 ... identified that more than 23,000 public service employees either ... been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ... government identified that more than 23,000 public service employees ... had been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ...
(Date:3/8/2016)... RALEIGH, N.C. , March 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... biometric sensor technology, today announced it has secured ... led by GII Tech, a new venture fund ... LLC, with additional participation from existing investors TDF ... use the funds to continue its triple-digit growth ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... Lenox Hill Hospital , for definitive prostate cancer treatment, patients traditionally had two main ... an appropriate treatment plan would be made. , New technology has enabled doctors ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... F.E.E.D. Co., the Feline Environmental ... revolutionary, veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The NoBowl Feeding System replaces the bowl ... the way nature intended. NoBowls make cats happy and healthy. , Since being ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... the necessary fundamentals to transform technology into a viable company, CereScan’s CEO, John ... Mr. Kelley, a recognized leader and mentor in the Denver area business ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016 Q ... the Company,s CEO  was featured in an article ... When VCs Fear To Tread: http://www.lifescienceleader.com/doc/accelerators-enter-when-vcs-fear-to-tread-0001 ... magazine is an essential business journal for ... emerging biotechs to Big Pharmas. Their content is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: