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:5/6/2017)... -- RAM Group , Singaporean based technology ... biometric authentication based on a novel  quantum-state ... perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on a ... Group and its partners. This sensor will have widespread ... security. Ram Group is a next generation sensor ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based ... edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. ... by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec ... show at the Las Vegas Convention Center ... Click here ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... -- According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM ... and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global ... grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... Linda, Ca (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2017 ... ... coffee production and is threatened by various biotic and abiotic factors. During this ... complex evolutionary history of coffee, as well as gain a better understanding of ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... ... August 14, 2017 , ... The Conference Forum has confirmed the ... place on September 6, 2017 at the Marriott Copley Place in Boston, MA. , ... Informatics, and Regulatory Strategy, Pfizer Innovative Research Lab, Pfizer, who leads 19 industry speakers ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... , ... August 11, 2017 , ... ... production, and, in particular, more natural alternatives to synthetic ingredients,” said Matt Hundt, ... Third Wave, with the established manufacturing presence and know-how of Biorigin will allow ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... ... August 09, 2017 , ... Each year in the United States ... enough to live an independent lifestyle and, even worse, the one-year mortality rate is ... doctors at the University of California Davis Medical Center (Sacramento) and Second Xiangya Hospital ...
Breaking Biology Technology: