Illuminating potential applications for quantum effects in living systems.
Do quantum phenomena play a meaningful role in biology? Are quantum effects somehow able to survive the warm, wet, and noisy environment of complex living systems? These questions were first raised in the 1930s and continue to be debated today. Advances in experimental and molecular dynamics modeling techniques are providing mounting evidence that quantum mechanical effects do exist in living organisms and appear to have significance in vital biological functions such as sight, smell, photosynthesis, cellular respiration and even avian navigation.
Light & Metabolism
Spectroscopic studies are elucidating the quantum dynamics of efficient energy transport in photosynthetic organisms such as plants, algae and some types of bacteria. Researchers are showing that energy transport processes in these biological systems may indeed be assisted by fluctuations and disorder in the surrounding environment. What if quantum energy transport mechanisms are not the exclusive domain of photosynthetic organisms? Is it possible that light-based energy transduction and transport is employed more broadly in nature?
A growing body of research is showing that low-energy infrared light is able to stimulate cellular respiratory processes in non-photosynthetic organisms including humans. Therapies based upon this phenomenon have demonstrated positive outcomes in the relief of pain and inflammation as well as wound healing. Additional studies point to its potential as a generalized modality in a broad range of diseases and disorders. Much is yet to be learned about the underlying activation pathways as the mechanisms of light energy transduction and transport in complex life forms is not fully understood.