Quantum Photosynthesis

I normally avoid commenting on quantum physics related topics, particularly as they relate to mystical or energetic experience. No matter how many popular treatments I’ve read I don’t think I understand what’s going on because I know that in the scientific fields that I studied (environmnetal science, ecology, lichenology, parasitology) the intro text books were all a bunch of convenient lies, let alone whatever made it into popular press. Despite this, I’m going to be making a small exception to my rule.

A recent article at Reality Sandwich tipped me off to some profoundly interesting and potentially important research in the field of quantum biology. The abstract for the paper (published in the rather conservative science journal Nature) can be found here. Essentially, it has been laboratory demonstrated that the protein structures employed in plant photosynthesis create a protected zone where photons can behave as quantum waves, not particles. This allows the photons to follow all potential pathways through the chlorophyll molecule and retroactively take the path of least resistance. This results in a nearly one-hundred percent efficient energy transfer, as opposed to the ten to twenty percent efficiency of the artificial version of this process.

Aside from the potential improvements to photovoltaic technology, it was thought to be essentially impossible to create a coherent quantum process at room temperature with a biological system. This photosynthetic process is essentially a kind of quantum computation. Considering the possibility that all biological systems are potentially capable of room temperature quantum computing has mind boggling ramifications to say the least.

An interview with the author of the paper and lead researcher:

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