2013 - Quantum Biology

Given by: Prof. Rienk Van Grondelle and Dr. Elisabet Romero
VU Amsterdam


Many biological processes involve the conversion of energy into forms that are usable for chemical transformations and are quantum mechanical in nature. Such processes involve chemical reactions, light absorption, the formation of excited electronic states, the transfer of excitation energy, and of electrons and protons (hydrogen ions) in biological processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Quantum biology uses computation to model biological interactions in light of quantum mechanical effects. 
Some examples of the biological phenomena that have been studied in terms of quantum processes are the transformation of frequency-specific radiation (i.e., photosynthesis and vision) into chemical energy, the conversion of chemical energy into motion, magneto reception in animals, DNA mutation and Brownian motors in many cellular processes. 
In particular, recent studies have identified quantum coherence and entanglement between the excited states of pigmets in the light-harvesting stage of photosynthesis. This stage of photosynthesis is highly efficient. However, the role of the quantum coherence effects in enhancing excitation transport quantum yields is under instance debate (Wikipedia).