The idea that excitonic (electronic) coherences are of fundamental importance to natural photosynthesis gained popularity when slowly dephasing quantum beats (QBs) were observed in the two-dimensional electronic spectra of the Fenna–Matthews–Olson (FMO) complex at 77 K. These were assigned to superpositions of excitonic states, a controversial interpretation, as the strong chromophore–environment interactions in the complex suggest fast dephasing. Although it has been pointed out that vibrational motion produces similar spectral signatures, a concrete assignment of these oscillatory signals to distinct physical processes is still lacking. Here we revisit the coherence dynamics of the FMO complex using polarization-controlled two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy, supported by theoretical modelling. We show that the long-lived QBs are exclusively vibrational in origin, whereas the dephasing of the electronic coherences is completed within 240 fs even at 77 K. We further find that specific vibrational coherences are produced via vibronically coupled excited states. The presence of such states suggests that vibronic coupling is relevant for photosynthetic energy transfer.
An increasing number of studies are beginning to show that both low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol can constitute risk factors for myocardial infarction. Such a behaviour has been called by experts in the field the “chameleonic effect” of cholesterol. In the present paper, a fractal/multifractal model for low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol dynamics is proposed. In such a context, a fractal/multifractal tunneling effect for systems with spontaneous symmetry breaking is analyzed so that if the spontaneous symmetry breaking is assimilated to an inflammation (in the form of a specific scalar potential), then a coupling between two fractal/multifractal states can be observed. These two states, which have been associated to biological structures such as low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein, transfer their states through a fractal/multifractal tunneling effect. Moreover, in our opinion, the widely used notions of “good” and “bad” cholesterol must be redefined as two different states (low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein) of the same biological structure named “cholesterol.” In our work, for the first time in the specialized literature, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein have been regarded as two different states of the same biological structure (named “cholesterol”), such as in nuclear physics, the neutron and proton are two different states of the same particle named nucleon.
The interest in chiral degrees of freedom occurring in matter and in electromagnetic fields is experiencing a renaissance driven by recent observations of the chiral-induced spin selectivity (CISS) effect in chiral molecules and engineered nanomaterials. The CISS effect underpins the fact that charge transport through nanoscopic chiral structures has been conclusively shown to favor a particular electronic spin orientation, resulting in large room-temperature spin polarizations. Observations of the CISS effect suggest unique opportunities for spin control and for the design and fabrication of room-temperature quantum devices from the bottom up, with atomic-scale precision. Any technology that relies on optimal charge transport -- i.e., the entire quantum device industry -- could benefit from chiral quantum properties. These can be theoretically and experimentally investigated from a quantum information perspective, which is presently lacking. There are uncharted implications for the quantum sciences once chiral couplings can be engineered to affect how well quantum information is stored, transduced and manipulated. This forward-looking review article provides a survey of the experimental and theoretical fundamentals of chiral-influenced quantum effects, and presents a vision for their future role in enabling room-temperature quantum technologies.
We demonstrate, by direct, single-cell imaging kinetic measurements, that endogenous autofluorescence in HeLa cells is sensitive to the application of external magnetic fields of 25 mT and less. We provide spectroscopic and mechanistic evidence that our findings can be explained in terms of magnetic field effects on photoinduced electron transfer reactions to flavins, through the radical pair mechanism. The observed magnetic field dependence is consistent with a triplet-born radical pair and a B1/2 value of 18.0 mT with a saturation value of 3.7%.
Quantum biology is the study of quantum effects on biochemical mechanisms and biological function. We show that the biological production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in live cells can be influenced by coherent electron spin dynamics, providing a new example of quantum biology in cellular regulation. ROS partitioning appears to be mediated during the activation of molecular oxygen (O2) by reduced flavoenzymes, forming spin-correlated radical pairs (RPs). We find that oscillating magnetic fields at Zeeman resonance alter relative yields of cellular superoxide (O2•−) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) ROS products, indicating coherent singlet-triplet mixing at the point of ROS formation. Furthermore, the orientation-dependence of magnetic stimulation, which leads to specific changes in ROS levels, increases either mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis rates. Our results reveal quantum effects in live cell cultures that bridge atomic and cellular levels by connecting ROS partitioning to cellular bioenergetics.
The myelin sheath facilitates action potential conduction along the axons, however, the mechanism by which myelin maintains the spatiotemporal fidelity and limits the hyperexcitability among myelinated neurons requires further investigation. Therefore, in this study, the model of quantum tunneling of potassium ions through the closed channels is used to explore this function of myelin. According to the present calculations, when an unmyelinated neuron fires, there is a probability of 9.15 × 10 − 4 that it will induce an action potential in other unmyelinated neurons, and this probability varies according to the type of channels involved, the channels density in the axonal membrane, and the surface area available for tunneling. The myelin sheath forms a thick barrier that covers the potassium channels and prevents ions from tunneling through them to induce action potential. Hence, it confines the action potentials spatiotemporally and limits the hyperexcitability. On the other hand, lack of myelin, as in unmyelinated neurons or demyelinating diseases, exposes potassium channels to tunneling by potassium ions and induces the action potential. This approach gives different perspectives to look at the interaction between neurons and explains how quantum physics might play a role in the actions occurring in the nervous system.
Understanding the rules of life is one of the most important scientific endeavours and has revolutionised both biology and biotechnology. Remarkable advances in observation techniques allow us to investigate a broad range of complex and dynamic biological processes in which living systems could exploit quantum behaviour to enhance and regulate biological functions. Recent evidence suggests that these non-trivial quantum mechanical effects may play a crucial role in maintaining the non-equilibrium state of biomolecular systems. Quantum biology is the study of such quantum aspects of living systems. In this review, we summarise the latest progress in quantum biology, including the areas of enzyme-catalysed reactions, photosynthesis, spin-dependent reactions, DNA, fluorescent proteins, and ion channels. Many of these results are expected to be fundamental building blocks towards understanding the rules of life.