Quantum biology: explore quantum dynamics in biological systems

Abstract

In recent years, people have been extending the concepts developed in quantum information science to explore quantum dynamics in biological systems. The existence of quantum coherence in certain biological processes has been identified in a number of experiments. The role of quantum coherence and quantum entanglement has been carefully investigated, which suggests that quantum effect is important in these processes although in a more complicated way. In the mean time, these findings urge the development of new experiment methodology to reveal more biological scenarios in which quantum effect exists and plays a non-trivial role. In this article, we review the latest progress in the field of quantum biology and discuss the key challenges in further development of quantum biology.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1

    Schrödinger E. What is Life? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Davies P C W. Quantum Aspects of Life. London: Imperial College Press, 2008

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Mohseni M, Omar Y, Engel G S, et al. Quantum Effects in Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Huelga S F, Plenio M B. Vibrations, quanta and biology. Contemp Phys, 2013, 54: 181–207

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Lambert N, Chen Y-N, Cheng Y-C, et al. Quantum biology. Nat Phys, 2013, 9: 10–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Zurek W H. Decoherence and the transition from quantum to classical. Phys Today, 1991, 44: 36

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Scholes G D, Fleming G R, laya-Castro A O, et al. Lessons from nature about solar light harvesting. Nat Chem, 2011, 3: 763–774

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Adolphs J, Renger T. How proteins trigger excitation energy transfer in the FMO complex of green sulphur bacteria. Biophys J, 2006, 91: 2778–2797

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Engel G S, Calhoun T R, Read E L, et al. Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems. Nature, 2007, 446: 782–786

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Collini E, Wong C Y, Wilk K E, et al. Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature. Nature, 2010, 463: 644–647

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Panitchayangkoon G, Hayesa D, Fransted K A, et al. Long-lived quantum coherence in photosynthetic complexes at physiological temperature. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA, 2010, 107: 12766–12770

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Panitchayangkoon G, Voronine D V, Abramavicius D, et al. Direct evidence of quantum transport in photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA, 2011, 108: 20908–20912

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Plenio M B, Huelga S F. Dephasing-assisted transport: quantum networks and biomolecules. New J Phys, 2008, 10: 113019

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Mohseni M, Robentrost P, Lloyd S, et al. Environment-assisted quantum walks in photosynthetic energy transfer. J Chem Phys, 2008, 129: 176106

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Lee H, Cheng Y-C, Fleming G R. Quantum coherence accelerating photosynthetic energy transfer. In: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Ultrafast Phenomena, Palazzo dei Congressi Stresa, 2008. 607–609

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Rebentrost P, Mohseni M, Kassal I, et al. Environment-assisted quantum transport. New J Phys, 2009, 11: 033003

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Ishizaki A, Fleming G R. Theoretical examination of quantum coherence in a photosynthetic system at physiological temperature. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA, 2009, 106: 17255–17260

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Renger T. Theory of excitation energy transfer: from structure to function. Photosynth Res, 2009, 102: 471–485

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Wu J L, Liu F, Shen Y, et al. Efficient energy transfer in light-harvesting systems, I: optimal temperature, reorganization energy, and spatial-temporal correlations. New J Phys, 2010, 12: 105012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Hoyer S, Sarovar M, Whaley K B. Limits of quantum speedup in photosynthetic light harvesting. New J Phys, 2010, 12: 065041

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Yang S, Xu D Z, Song Z, et al. Dimerization-assisted energy transport in light-harvesting complexes. J Chem Phys, 2010, 132: 234501

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Yen T-C, Cheng Y-C. Electronic coherence effects in photosynthetic light harvesting. Proc Chem, 2011, 3: 211–221

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Ghosh P K, Smirnov A Y, Nori F. Quantum effects in energy and charge transfer in an artificial photosynthetic complex. J Chem Phys, 2011, 134: 244103

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Cui B, Zhang X Y, Yi X X. Quantum dynamics in light-harvesting complexes: beyond the single-exciton limit. arXiv:1106.4429

  25. 25

    Li C-M, Lambert N, Chen Y-N, et al. Witnessing quantum coherence: from solid-state to biological systems. Sci Rep, 2012, 2: 885

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Ringsmuth A K, Milburn G J, Stace T M. Multiscale photosynthetic and biomimetic excitation energy transfer. Nat Phys, 2012, 8: 562–567

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Chin A W, Prior J, Rosenbach R, et al. Vibrational structures and long-lasting electronic coherence. Nat Phys, 2013, 9: 113–118

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Qin M, Shen H Z, Yi X X. A multi-pathway model for photosynthetic reaction center. arXiv:1507.00001

  29. 29

    Lim J, Palecek D, Caycedo-Soler F, et al. Vibronic origin of long-lived coherence in an artificial molecular light harvester. Nat Commun, 2015, 6: 7755

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30

    Wiltschko W, Traudt J, Gunturkun O, et al. Lateralization of magnetic compass orientation in a migratory bird. Nature, 2002, 419: 467–470

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31

    Ritz T, Thalau P, Phillips J B, et al. Resonance effects indicate a radical pair mechanism for avian magnetic compass. Nature, 2004, 429: 177–180

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32

    Wiltschko R, Stapput K, Thalau P, et al. Directional orientation of birds by the magnetic field under different light conditions. J Roy Soc Interf, 2010, 7: 163–177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33

    Ritz T, Adem S, Schulten K. A model for photoreceptor-based magnetoreception in birds. Biophys J, 2000, 78: 707–718

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34

    Ritz T, Wiltschko R, Hore P J, et al. Magnetic compass of birds is based on a molecule with optimal directional sensitivity. Biophys J, 2009, 96: 3451–3457

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. 35

    Ritz T. Quantum effects in biology: bird navigation. Proc Chem, 2011, 3: 262–275

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. 36

    Maeda K, Robinson A J, Henbest K B, et al. Magnetically sensitive light-induced reactions in cryptochrome are consistent with its proposed role as a magnetoreceptor. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA, 2012, 109: 4774–4779

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37

    Rodgers C T, Hore P J. Chemical magnetoreception in birds: the radical pair mechanism. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA, 2009, 106: 353–360

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38

    Ritz T, Ahmad M, Mouritsen H, et al. Photoreceptor-based magnetoreception: Optimal design of receptor molecules, cells, and neuronal processing. J Roy Soc Interf, 2010, 7: S135–S146

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39

    Schulten K, Swenberg C E, Weller A. A biomagnetic sensory mechanism based on magnetic field modulated coherent electron spin motion. Z Phys Chem, 1978, 111: 1–5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. 40

    Steiner U, Ulrich T. Magnetic field effects in chemical kinetics and related phenomena. Chem Rev, 1989, 89: 51–147

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41

    Maeda K, Henbest K B, Cintolesi F, et al. Chemical compass model of avian magnetoreception. Nature, 2008, 453: 387–390

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42

    Gauger E M, Rieper E, Morton J J L, et al. Sustained quantum coherence and entanglement in the avian compass. Phys Rev Lett, 2011, 106: 040503

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. 43

    Bandyopadhyay J N, Paterek T, Kaszlikowski D. Quantum coherence and sensitivity of avian magnetoreception. Phys Rev Lett, 2012, 109: 110502

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44

    Cai J M, Guerreschi G G, Briegel H J. Quantum control and entanglement in a chemical compass. Phys Rev Lett, 2010, 104: 220502

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. 45

    Yang L P, Ai Q, Sun C P. Generalized Holstein model for spin-dependent electron transfer reaction. Phys Rev A, 2012, 85: 032707

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. 46

    Cai J M, Plenio M B. Chemical compass model for avian magnetoreception as a quantum coherent device. Phys Rev Lett, 2013, 111: 230503

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. 47

    Turin L. A spectroscopic mechanism for primary olfactory reception. Chem Sens, 1996, 21: 773–791

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. 48

    Brookes J C, Hartoutsiou F, Horsfield A P, et al. Could humans recognize odor by phonon-assisted tunneling? Phys Rev Lett, 2007, 98: 038101

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jianming Cai.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cai, J. Quantum biology: explore quantum dynamics in biological systems. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 59, 081302 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-016-5592-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • quantum information
  • quantum biology
  • quantum optics
  • quantum coherence
  • quantum physics