Quantum biology is one of the emerging disciplines in the field of quantum mechanics studies that has been extensively studied over the past decade. As we know, quantum physics has more to do with microscopic phenomena such as electrons, photons and atoms.
Given the proximity of the dimensions and scales of both biology and quantum physics, it seems that quantum mechanics should play a role in describing the behavior of biological systems. The chemical structure of biological systems is made up of complex molecules at the nanoscale and nanometer scale.
Historically, the birth of quantum biology can be traced back to Schrödinger's Year 2 paper. In his famous book What is Life, Schrödinger predicted the existence of a molecular basis for the inheritance of biological structures that biologists identified years later as the DNA molecule. In 2000, the Austrian team led by Antoine Zeilinger performed some interesting experiments. They performed a particle-wave experiment for the macroscopic world and found that there was a large and complex composition such as the C60 compound when crossing the Yang bifurcation. So it is not unexpected to see quantum behaviors for large structures like organic and biological molecules.
At first, phenomena such as tunneling or quantum entanglement were ignored in living environments because these phenomena hardly occur in warm, humid environments. But over time, new things have appeared in biological phenomena that can only be justified by quantum mechanics. In recent years, there has been some robust and recent research, achievement and evidence that quantum mechanics has played an important role in describing and justifying some biological phenomena. This has raised hopes for the success of this approach, which briefly addresses some of these phenomena.
High-efficiency energy transfer in the photosynthesis process: Coherence and quantum entanglement
The strongest and most important theoretical and empirical evidence for the presence of quantum coherence and correlation in biological phenomena is related to the photosynthetic process, which indicates the direct presence of these quantum phenomena. Photosynthesis is a key process for life on Earth. This process takes place in various forms on green plants, algae or bacteria. But in all of them light energy is converted into chemical energy. More precisely, photosynthesis can be described as a set of complex processes such as excitation, oxidation-reduction and proton transfer. The conversion of energy begins with the absorption of subtracted photons by pigment molecules such as chlorophylls that are encapsulated in a protein structure. Each pigment molecule transmits its excitation energy to the adjacent molecule by receiving light energy and by the interaction of electrons with other molecules.
Many empirical studies show that energy transfer occurs in highly efficient photosynthetic systems (more than 2%) to the chemical reaction center. The reaction center is the pigment-protein structure and is the site of conversion of optical energy to chemical energy. On the one hand, any delay in energy transfer increases the chances of the process of excitation energy dissipating in the form of thermal energy, and on the other hand many parts of the photosynthetic system are chemicals in which we do not expect to see quantum effects. The results show that energy, instead of accidentally jumping from one molecule to the next, as predicted by classical physics, moves in several directions simultaneously with quantum probabilities.
In some recent experiments, there are indications that coherent excitation energy is transmitted along the polymer chains of photosynthetic structures in the presence of the protein medium and at laboratory temperature of 2 K and even at room temperature, 2 K. The time of this coherence is reported at about 4 femtoseconds at the laboratory temperature and about 2 femtoseconds at room temperature. Recent advances in the field of two-dimensional Fourier transform electron microscopy have greatly helped to justify and prove quantum phenomena in the photosynthesis process.
Quantum effects on the brain
Another important area of quantum biology is the description of brain dynamics and processes related to self-awareness. There is still a long way to go to explain this relationship and the quality of self-awareness, but how the brain functions as the most sophisticated structure studied in science is effective in answering many deep philosophical and scientific questions. Regarding the importance of studying in this field, it can be considered that if we were to build a computer that would simulate brain function, it would have to be as large as New York City, but the brain does so efficiently with a limited energy source. In recent years, simulation of the functional processes of the brain has been widely used in fields such as artificial intelligence, neuroscience and cognitive science.
From a historical point of view, it is very new. Fifty years after Einstein's death, the Nature Journal has invited top 10 physicists to examine how far we have come to Einstein's perennial dream of "the theory of everything." A theory from which all the forces of physics can be described. A theory that can understand all the fields of physics, including quantum and gravitational ones. A theory that he himself could not achieve in his lifetime. There were great people in the crowd, like Saskin, Witten, Tofs, Smolin, Stockwell, Rowley, Ellis, Penrose, Weinberg, and Randall, each of whom gave their opinion. But among all the comments, Penrose's view was different. In his "theory of everything" he thinks there must be a place for the brain and the self to describe it