Quantum Biology May Help Solve Some of Life’s Greatest Mysteries

In one of the University of Sheffield’s physics labs, a few hundred photosynthetic bacteria were nestled between two mirrors positioned less than a micrometer apart. Physicist David Coles and his colleagues were zapping the microbe-filled cavity with white light, which bounced around the cells in a way the team could tune by adjusting the distance between the mirrors. According to results published in 2017, this intricate setup caused photons of light to physically interact with the photosynthetic machinery in a handful of those cells, in a way the team could modify by tweaking the experimental setup.1

That the researchers could control a cell’s interaction with light like this was an achievement in itself. But a more surprising interpretation of the findings came the following year. When Coles and several collaborators reanalyzed the data, they found evidence that the nature of the interaction between the bacteria and the photons of light was much weirder than the original analysis had suggested. “It seemed an inescapable conclusion to us that indirectly what [we were] really witnessing was quantum entanglement,” says University of Oxford physicist Vlatko Vedral, a coauthor on both papers.

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Birds Have a Mysterious ‘Quantum Sense’. For The First Time, Scientists Saw It in Action

Seeing our world through the eyes of a migratory bird would be a rather spooky experience. Something about their visual system allows them to ‘see’ our planet’s magnetic field, a clever trick of quantum physics, and biochemistry that helps them navigate vast distances.


Now, for the first time ever, scientists from the University of Tokyo have directly observed a key reaction hypothesised to be behind birds’, and many other creatures’, talents for sensing the direction of the planet’s poles.

Importantly, this is evidence of quantum physics directly affecting a biochemical reaction in a cell – something we’ve long hypothesised but haven’t seen in action before. 

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Aqua-Fi: Underwater WiFi developed using LEDs and lasers

Aquatic internet that sends data through light beams could enable divers to instantly transmit footage from under the sea to the surface.

The internet is an indispensable communication tool, connecting tens of billions of devices worldwide, and yet we struggle to connect to the web from under water. “People from both academia and industry want to monitor and explore underwater environments in detail,” explains the first author, Basem Shihada. Wireless internet under the sea would enable divers to talk without hand signals and send live data to the surface.

Underwater communication is possible with radio, acoustic and visible light signals. However, radio can only carry data over short distances, while acoustic signals support long distances, but with a very limited data rate. Visible light can travel far and carry lots of data, but the narrow light beams require a clear line of sight between the transmitters and receivers.

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Scientists Demonstrate “Liquid Light” at Room Temperature for the First Time

Researchers from Italy and Canada have made liquid light at room temperatures for the first time. The work paves the way for studying quantum hydrodynamics further and for future applications of this new type of matter in electronics devices.

A STRANGE FORM OF MATTER

Thanks to technological advances, scientists now have various ways of manipulating matter. Often times, these result in discovering new types of matter that posses unique properties — like the famous metallic hydrogen and the bizarre time crystal. The discovery of such materials leads to a wide range of potential applications in electronics. One of these is the so-called “liquid light,” a strange matter which researchers from the CNR NANOTECH Institute of Nanotechnology in Italy and the Polytechnique Montréal in Canada recently formed at room temperature for the first time.

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Quantum Leaps, Long Assumed to Be Instantaneous, Take Time

 

 

 

 

 

When quantum mechanics was first developed a century ago as a theory for understanding the atomic-scale world, one of its key concepts was so radical, bold and counter-intuitive that it passed into popular language: the “quantum leap.” Purists might object that the common habit of applying this term to a big change misses the point that jumps between two quantum states are typically tiny, which is precisely why they weren’t noticed sooner. But the real point is that they’re sudden. So sudden, in fact, that many of the pioneers of quantum mechanics assumed they were instantaneous.

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Quantum Teleportation Enters the Real World

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two separate teams of scientists have taken quantum teleportation from the lab into the real world. Researchers working in Calgary, Canada and Hefei, China, used existing fiber optics networks to transmit small units of information across cities via quantum entanglement — Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.”Stepping Outside the LabAccording to quantum mechanics, some objects, like photons or electrons, can be entangled.

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