Quantum effects in biological systems

Date: piątek, 22 kwietnia, 2022
Time: 12:15
Location: IFTIA Seminar (room 361)
Passcode: 78pA05

Speaker: Kai Sheng Lee

Abstract Quantum mechanics is at its hearts the study of nature at the fundamental level of atoms and subatomic particles. Made up of these same atoms and subatomic particles, biological systems are also expected to follow quantum mechanics to some extent. The most well-known example (and still debated) is in magnetoreception, where some animals are thought to use magnetically sensitive chemical dynamics as compasses to obtain directional information from the Earth’s magnetic field. This process involves the electron spins and quantum coherences of the intermediate “radical pairs” reactants. I will give an overview of two experiments performed that investigate quantum effects in animals. Firstly, we show that the magnetic sensitivity of Periplaneta americana, the American cockroach, confirmed in behavioural experiments is most likely based on the radical pair compass. In the second experiment, we describe measurements on a qubit-qubit-tardigrade system and observe a coupling between the animal in the tun state and a qubit. Further steps and quantum state tomography on the total system shows non-zero tripartite entanglement. Finally, the tardigrade was shown to properly revive after being placed back at room temperature water. The two experiments show that biological systems can be bridged with quantum mechanics and will be relevant in probing the limits of quantum to classical transitions.