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Vibrations, quanta and biology

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Quantum biology is an emerging field of research that concerns itself with the experimental and theoretical exploration of non-trivial quantum phenomena in biological systems. In this tutorial overview we aim to bring out fundamental assumptions and questions in the field, identify basic design principles and develop a key underlying theme – the dynamics of quantum dynamical networks in the presence of an environment and the fruitful interplay that the two may enter. At the hand of three biological phenomena whose understanding is held to require quantum mechanical processes, namely excitation and charge transfer in photosynthetic complexes, magneto-reception in birds and the olfactory sense, we demonstrate that this underlying theme encompasses them all, thus suggesting its wider relevance as an archetypical framework for quantum biology.
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Keywords: biology; coherence; electrons; environments; excitons; protons; quantum dynamics; transport; vibrations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universität Ulm, Institut für Theoretische Physik, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89073 Ulm, Germany.

Publication date: 2013-07-01

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