Saturday, March 6, 2010

577)Algae Use Quantum Trick To Harvest Light: Study Detects Predicted Wavelike Properties During Photosynthesis; Marvel Of God's Creation

"...As we use our intellect to gain new knowledge about Creation, we come to see even more profoundly the depth and breadth of its mysteries. We explore unknown regions beneath the seas – and in outer space. We reach back over hundreds of millions of years in time. Extra-ordinary fossilised geological specimens seize our imagination – palm leaves, amethyst flowers, hedgehog quartz, sea lilies, chrysanthemum and a rich panoply of shells. Indeed, these wonders are found beneath the very soil on which we tread – in every corner of the world – and they connect us with far distant epochs and environments.And the more we discover, the more we know, the more we penetrate just below the surface of our normal lives – the more our imagination staggers. Just think for example what might lie below the surfaces of celestial bodies all across the far flung reaches of our universe. What we feel, even as we learn, is an ever-renewed sense of wonder, indeed, a powerful sense of awe – and of Divine inspiration"(Aga Khan IV, Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, Ottawa, Canada, December 6th 2008)For the full version of this quote see:

"......The Quran tells us that signs of Allah’s Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation - in the heavens and the earth, the night and the day, the clouds and the seas, the winds and the waters...."(Aga Khan IV, Kampala, Uganda, August 22 2007)

"The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being"(Aga Khan III, April 4th 1952, Karachi, Pakistan)

"Nature is the great daily book of God whose secrets must be found and used for the well-being of humanity"(Aga Khan III, Radio Pakistan, Karachi, Pakistan, February 19th 1950)

"O brother! You asked: What is the [meaning of] `alam [world] and what is that entity to which this name applies? How should we describe the world in its entirety? And how many worlds are there? Explain so that we may recognize. Know, O brother, that the name `alam is derived from [the word] `ilm(knowledge), because the traces of knowledge are evident in [all] parts of the physical world. Thus, we say that the very constitution (nihad) of the world is based on a profound wisdom"(Nasir Khusraw, 11th century Fatimid Ismaili cosmologist-philosopher-poet, from his book "Knowledge and Liberation")

Algae use quantum trick to harvest light

Study detects predicted wavelike properties during photosynthesis

By Laura Sanders

February 27th, 2010; Vol.177 #5 (p. 10)

A dash of sunlight, a sprinkle of light-harvesting proteins and a healthy dollop of carbon dioxide is about all it takes to whip up a batch of tasty plant food — but you might want some quantum physics to stir the pot. Scientists have caught photosynthetic lake-dwelling algae performing long-lasting quantum tricks at room temperature. The results, published February 4 in Nature, suggest that quantum mechanics may be at the heart of sunlight-to-energy conversion in living organisms.

“This is quantum mechanics in a biological system,” says study coauthor Gregory Scholes, a physical chemist at the University of Toronto.

Photosynthesis relies on special proteins that absorb incoming photons, or particles of light. These photons excite electrons in the protein, touching off a series of electron transfers that ultimately ferry the energy-laden electrons to centralized collection stations (called photosystems) where the conversion of energy to carbohydrates begins.

Under normal, everyday rules, electrons would make their way to their destinations with quick random hops. But recent studies of photosynthetic bacteria and plants suggest that the electrons might act more like correlated waves instead of hopping particles, a behavior predicted by quantum mechanics (SN: 5/9/09, p. 26). These studies have mainly seen such quantum effects at very low temperatures, where the system is held very still. Scholes and colleagues devised an experiment to see whether these quantum-mechanical wavelike properties were also present at normal temperatures. The researchers purified the light-catching proteins from two types of photosynthetic algae called cryptophytes. At room temperature, the team shone a laser onto the proteins to excite them and used a second laser pulse to see where the excited electrons traveled. Patterns of long-lasting electron waves — a property called quantum coherence — indicated that quantum weirdness was at work.

“This study shows that quantum coherence is present at room temperature,” says Graham Fleming, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley — a result predicted from his lab’s previous studies. “It is very likely a general feature of photosynthetic light harvesting complexes,” says Fleming, who pioneered some of the early studies on quantum effects in photosynthesis.

Just as jiggling water disrupts the wave pattern created by a pebble tossed into a pond, random motion from thermal energy of atoms destroys electrons’ coherent wave patterns. The researchers expected to see the coherence last for about 20 femtoseconds, Scholes says. Instead, it lasted for about 400 femtoseconds. This longevity, especially at room temperature, “is a really fantastic feature of these experiments,” Scholes says.

These long-lasting quantum effects may help explain the mystery of why the initial electron-moving reactions in photosynthesis are so efficient. In an extreme version of the algae’s quantum-mechanical trick, electrons could simultaneously take all the possible paths to a photosystem and decide after they arrived which route was best. “That vibrating electron could put some feelers out and see which path to take,” Scholes says.

The researchers don’t yet know for sure whether quantum effects are making the reaction chain more efficient. Scholes believes that they do, but more studies and modeling experiments will be required to say exactly how much of a boost quantum coherence provides.

“In my view, this long-lasting coherence may have a meaning for natural photosynthesis, in the sense that it may contribute to the effective harvesting of light energy, but this remains to be proven,” comments Rienk van Grondelle of VU University Amsterdam, who coauthored an accompanying article published in the same issue of Nature.

Related Posts:

No 10, Ayats(Signs) In The Universe Series:Marine Animal Steals Marine Plant's Photosynthetic Genes Then Kicks Back With No Need To Feed;Chor Salo

A collection of posts about life: tiniest matter, supernovae, living cells, water, proteins, blood, photosynthesis, etc;Quotes of Aga Khans+others

Easy Nash

In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God: Aga Khan IV(2008)
The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims: Aga Khan IV(1985)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)