Quantum Coherence

Biology cannot be fully understood without some understanding of Quantum Coherence. The idea is that some features of biology can only be explained as ’emergent’ properties arising from the structured cooperation of many atoms operating on a quantum wave level.

This topic is covered extensively by Mae-Wan Ho in The Rainbow and the Worm. I will give one example here to give the flavour of the book.

If visible light is shone on a biological cell the light is processed and re-emitted after a short delay with decaying intensity as shown in the graph below (from Fritz Popp).

Photon Ultra Weak Photon Emission

There are several interesting features here..

  • The light emitted is evenly distributed across the visible spectrum regardless of the wavelength(s) of the stimulus.
  • The decay curve is also independent of the input frequencies and does not follow a typical exponential curve that would be obtained from emission from an inert piece of metal, say (i.e. Black Body radiation).
  • The output is clearly time dependent which is not true in the same way as black body radiation which follows a self-similar curve and whose output depends only upon the current state (i.e. temperature) of the body.

The implications are that

  • Since the output is time dependent the system must have some kind of ‘memory’ and hence there must be some kind of cooperation across the cell(s).
  • Since the output has a flat frequency profile, the output of a single molecule must somehow be coordinated with the output of other molecules and so they are operating in concert, they are ‘coherent’.

The conclusion is that the energy from the light impulse hitting the tissue is immediately ‘de-localised’ somehow across the entire cell, stored as a quantum whole i.e. not piecemeal in an atom here, a molecule there, and re-emitted in an organised fashion according to rules we don’t yet know about.

Black body radiation

Contrast this with the behaviour of a so called ‘black body’.
Here the output is not ‘white light’ but it’s ‘colour’ will change according to the temperature of the body which is a measure of the average energy possessed by the atoms within the body.
Each atom will decay effectively at random and output a photon according to its own energy level – the resulting curve being a statistical aggregate of many small random events.
The biophotons do not display this randomness, they are organised somehow.

Radical Black Body Radiation - Courtney's Chemistry

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