goda@chem.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp +81-3-5841-4329

Biology has been widely successful in applying classical physical models to biological systems. However, there are many biological phenomena that are not well explained by classical physics. For example, why is chloroplast energy transport in photosynthesis highly efficient? Why is the dog’s sense of smell highly sensitive? Why can the migratory bird sense faint geomagnetic fields? How does the brain process enormous amounts of information? Recent studies suggest that these biological phenomena may be largely characterized by quantum effects such as coherence, tunneling, and entanglement. Quantum biology is a field of research that elucidates these very questions from a quantum mechanical perspective and to shed light on the mesoscopic world, the boundary region between quantum and classical mechanics in living organisms, by studying the relationship of quantum coherence with the macroscopic dynamics of living organisms. While quantum biology has been around for nearly 80 years since Erwin Schrödinger published his famous book "What is Life?", it has only recently emerged in earnest as a scientifically verifiable concept. This is due to recent technological advances such as time-resolved spectroscopy, single-molecule imaging, and X-ray lasers that have created an environment for studying quantum biological phenomena.

We want to take it one step further. Just as quantum technology has been developed based on the findings of quantum mechanics, quantum bio-inspired technology, an innovative quantum technology inspired by the findings of quantum biology, should be possible. Based on this hypothesis, we aim to engineer such quantum bio-inspired technology and develop a new field of research "quantum bioengineering". For example, solar cells with highly efficient energy transport capabilities that mimic the quantum effects of photosynthesis, gas sensors that mimic the amazing senses of animals such as magnetoreception and olfaction, and infrared cameras that mimic the vision of nocturnal animals are expected to be developed. This paradigm shift from quantum biology to quantum bioengineering is expected to have a profound impact on industry, energy, and medicine.


References


Quantum Bioengineering

  • Field leader: Yasutaka Kitahama
  • Funding: MEXT Q-LEAP
  • Collaboration: Serendipity Lab