Back in January we blogged about an article in Discover Magazine that reviewed the latest discoveries involving quantum mechanical effects in biological systems. Now researchers from the Berkeley Center for Quantum Information and Computation, the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory believe they have identified quantum entanglement events occurring in photosynthesis.
From The Physics arXiv Blog:
Various studies have shown that in light harvesting complexes, chromophores can share coherently delocalised electronic states. K. Birgitta Whaley at the Berkeley Center for Quantum Information and Computation and pals say this can only happen if the chromophores are entangled.
They point out that these molecules do not seem to exploit entanglement. Instead, its presence is just a consequence of the electronic coherence.
This is a big claim that relies somewhat on circumstantial evidence. It’ll be important to get confirmation of these idea before they can become mainstream.
Nevertheless, if correct, the discovery has huge implications. For a start, biologists could tap into this entanglement to make much more accurate measurement of what goes on inside molecules during photosynthesis using to the various techniques of quantum metrology that physicists have developed.
More exciting still, is the possibility that these molecules could be used for quantum information processing at room temperature. Imagine photosynthetic quantum computers!
More from The Physics arXiv Blog …
Full article in arXiv.org: Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light harvesting complexes
Flashback: Discover Mag Looks at Quantum Biology
(hat tip: Slashdot)