Lately scientists have come upon tangible evidence that cells are able to communicate using photons instead of using chemical, mechanical, or electric means. In particular, a group from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago provided the most obvious evidence of light based communication between cells. The Physics arXiv Blog spotlights a recent article that aims to answer some of the mysteries surrounding biophotonic communication and the new field that’s springing up thanks to the latest evidence.
Sergei Mayburov at the Lebedev Institute of Physics in Moscow puts forward the idea that optical communication is a natural process in many cells that can be explained by the way we already know many cells to function.
He points out that biologists have long known that photons play a central role in the biochemistry of many plant and bacterial cells. The basic idea, laid out in the 1960s, is that optical or UV photons enter a cell and stimulate the creation of excitons, electron-hole pairs, on certain long chain molecules. The exciton travels along the molecule, influencing the way it reacts with other species within the cell. This is the basic theory behind photosynthesis.
Mayburov’s idea is that this process is, first, reversible, second, not limited to photosynthetic cells and third, possible to modulate for communication.
Reat on at The Physics arXiv Blog..
Abstract in arXiv: Coherent and Noncoherent Photonic Communications in Biological Systems
Abstract in Bioelectrochemistry: Evidence for non-chemical, non-electrical intercellular signaling in intestinal epithelial cells