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Quantum Entanglement in Photosynthesis and Evolution

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Postby sandra » Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:36 pm

ScienceDaily (July 22, 2010) — Recently, academic debate has been swirling around the existence of unusual quantum mechanical effects in the most ubiquitous of phenomena, including photosynthesis, the process by which organisms convert light into chemical energy.



In particular, physicists have suggested that entanglement (the quantum interconnection of two or more objects like photons, electrons, or atoms that are separated in physical space) could be occurring in the photosynthetic complexes of plants, particularly in the pigment molecules, or chromophores. The quantum effects may explain why the structures are so efficient at converting light into energy -- doing so at 95 percent or more.

In a paper in The Journal of Chemical Physics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics, these ideas are put to the test in a novel computer simulation of energy transport in a photosynthetic reaction center.

Using the simulation, professor Shaul Mukamel and senior research associate Darius Abramavicius at the University of California, Irvine show that long-lived quantum coherence is an "essential ingredient for quantum information storage and manipulation," according to Mukamel. It is possible between chromophores even at room temperature, he says, and it "can strongly affect the light-harvesting efficiency."

If the existence of such effects can be substantiated experimentally, he says, this understanding of quantum energy transfer and charge separation pathways may help the design of solar cells that take their inspiration from nature.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 154236.htm
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Postby Aquatank » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:17 am

interesting...... Not sure what all to make of it yet though. Quantum mechanics is so tricky.
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Postby sandra » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:36 pm

Yeah I've been thinking the same thing, I'm wondering how this is going to change future research into quantum teleportation or other areas of quantum physics. New areas of exploration into time/space/distance, because it defies theories of speed of light travel more than ever so I find it a fairly significant breakthrough considering quantum entanglement hasn't been taken so far in the past, but considering the motivation here, which will be more realistic goals for better efficient use of solar energy. With 100% return from the energy plants capture and no delay of output. Alot of plants have a much higher consistency of water, but I personally do not believe that has everything to do with their ability to convert light into energy nearly simultaneously, I think what it does do, is gives us a better ability to perceive it, the quantum entanglement. I'm going to continue doing some reading.
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
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Postby sandra » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:21 pm

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... ysics-math
Lightening often happens earlier than it should, and when electric fields in clouds would appear to be to weak to initiate it. Where does this fit into this topic, I have not a clue. :mrgreen:
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
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Postby Aquatank » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:36 am

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Postby sandra » Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:24 pm

Oh yes. Thanks for adding that to the thread, it will also help me keep better tabs on
the newest information coming out. 122million... that article was posted on the 27th, wonder exactly when that decision was made to grant that large of funding for a new research center.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/05/arti ... -if-its-n/

This is an article back from March I believe, but when I read it I found myself smiling from ear to ear while watching the video. ' your lawn is better at converting the sun into energy than that $23k solar array your neighbors just threw on their roof.' :mrgreen:
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
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Postby sandra » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:03 pm

Light-harvesting complexes do it themselves
New technique could yield self-assembling solar cellsBy Rachel Ehrenberg Web edition : 1:01 pm Text Size A new technique may one day lead to solar cells that bring themselves together like a molecular flash mob and repair damage they sustain during the rough business of turning light into electricity.

The research lays the groundwork for cheap, self-repairing solar cells with an indefinite lifetime, a team reports September 5 in Nature Chemistry.

“It’s a manmade version of what nature does,” says nanocomposite expert Jaime Grunlan of Texas A&M University in College Station. “This really looks like ground-breaking seminal work; I’ve never seen anything remotely like it.”

The sun’s rays can be brutal, even for a leaf that’s harvesting them. When photosynthesis is going full blast, a leaf is constantly building new photosynthetic reaction centers to replace those damaged by harsh oxygen species and other destructive molecules generated by intense ultraviolet light.

So rather than trying to make solar cells that are extremely durable, the team decided to take a literal leaf from nature’s book and go the route of self-repair, says chemical engineer Michael Strano of MIT, who led the project. He and Stephen Sligar and Colin Wraight of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, along with other colleagues, designed a system where damaged parts could be easily replaced.

The researchers began with light-harvesting reaction centers from a purple bacterium. Then they added some proteins and lipids for structure, and carbon nanotubes to conduct the resulting electricity.

These ingredients were added to a water-filled dialysis bag — the kind used to filter the blood of someone whose kidneys don’t work — which has a membrane that only small molecules can pass through. The soupy solution also contained sodium cholate, a surfactant to keep all the ingredients from sticking together.

When the team filtered the surfactant out of the mix, the ingredients self-assembled into a unit, capturing light and generating an electric current.

The spontaneous assembly occurs thanks to the chemical properties of the ingredients and their tendency to combine in the most energetically comfortable positions. The scaffolding protein wraps around the lipid, forming a little disc with the photosynthetic reaction center perched on top. These discs line up along the carbon nanotube, which has pores that electrons from the reaction center can pass through.

Adding the sodium cholate back into the mix disassembles the complexes. But filtering it out again brings them right back together.

“The idea that it happens reversibly and at will is quite amazing,” says Strano. “It approaches what happens in biology — forming a huge amount of order with the flip of a switch. It’s kind of like taking puzzle pieces and throwing them up in the air and them coming down assembled.”

The complexes eventually lose power, but they are easily revived, says Strano. The research team disassembled the units and replenished the photosynthetic reaction centers. Four such replacements over the course of a week kept keeping the complexes humming along.

“This is very nice work — the procedure they’ve got, the control they have over the system,” says biochemist Mike Jones of the University of Bristol in England. “It’s simple, it’s very nice.”

The units can’t compete with silicon-based solar cells in use today. But silicon-based solar cells reached their current level of efficiency only after decades of research and development, says Jones. Similar investment in this new technology could yield a system that’s highly efficient, can self-repair and works well under low light conditions, he says.

What’s more, the main ingredients for these solar cells might one day be easily extracted from plant material, says Strano, perhaps even from garbage biomass. “We could turn waste into an organized product,” he says.


http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic ... themselves
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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