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Quantum biology: Did researchers produce quantum entanglement in living organisms?


The researchers claim it is a first:

… a new paper from a group at the University of Oxford is now raising some eyebrows for its claims of the successful entanglement of bacteria with photons—particles of light. Led by the quantum physicist Chiara Marletto and published in October in the Journal of Physics Communications, the study is an analysis of an experiment conducted in 2016 by David Coles from the University of Sheffield and his colleagues. In that experiment Coles and company sequestered several hundred photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria between two mirrors, progressively shrinking the gap between the mirrors down to a few hundred nanometers—less than the width of a human hair. By bouncing white light between the mirrors, the researchers hoped to cause the photosynthetic molecules within the bacteria to couple—or interact—with the cavity, essentially meaning the bacteria would continuously absorb, emit and reabsorb the bouncing photons. The experiment was successful; up to six bacteria did appear to couple in this manner.

Marletto and her colleagues argue the bacteria did more than just couple with the cavity, though. In their analysis they demonstrate the energy signature produced in the experiment could be consistent with the bacteria’s photosynthetic systems becoming entangled with the light inside the cavity.Jonathan O’Callaghan, ““Schrödinger’s Bacterium” Could Be a Quantum Biology Milestone” at Scientific American

O’Callaghan notes that the evidence is circumstantial and that the measurements were collective, not independent. Here’s where replication comes in.

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See also: Researchers clearly observe quantum effects in photosynthesis

While this research is certainly interesting, a more promising avenue of research in quantum biology is to look to quantum biology to overcome extreme difficulties that have stymied engineers in their quest to build quantum computers that can be of practical, even commercial, application.
Quantum life: The weirdness inside us - 03 October 2011 by Michael Brooks Excerpt: "It sounds harsh but we haven't learned a thing apart from the obvious." A better understanding of what is going on might also help us on the way to building a quantum computer that exploits coherent states to do myriad calculations at once. Efforts to do so have so far been stymied by our inability to maintain the required coherence for long - even at temperatures close to absolute zero and in isolated experimental set-ups where disturbances from the outside world are minimised. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128321.500-quantum-life-the-weirdness-inside-us.html?full=true Quantum entanglement in hot systems – 2011 Excerpt: The authors remark that this reverses the previous orthodoxy, which held that quantum effects could not exist in biological systems because of the amount of noise in these systems.,,, Environmental noise here drives a persistent and cyclic generation of new entanglement.,,, In summary, the authors say that they have demonstrated that entanglement can recur even in a hot noisy environment. In biological systems this can be related to changes in the conformation of macromolecules. http://quantum-mind.co.uk/quantum-entanglement-hot-systems/ How quantum entanglement in DNA synchronizes double-strand breakage by type II restriction endonucleases - 2016 Implications concluding paragraph: The discovery of quantum states in protein-DNA complexes would thus allude to the tantalizing possibility that these systems might be candidates for quantum computation. The evidence is mounting for the implementation of such technology. Biology is characterized by macroscopic open systems in non-equilibrium conditions. Macroscopic organization of microscopic components (e.g., molecules, ions, electrons) that exhibit quantum behavior is rarely straightforward. Knowing the microscopic details of the constituent interactions and their mechanistic laws is not sufficient. Rather, as this work has shown, molecular systems must be contextualized in their local biological environments to discern appreciable quantum effects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4746125/

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