Journal article

Controlling Biological Functions

A review. Manipulation of the quantum properties of matter can influence the course of biochem. reactions. Can biol. functions, such as vision or photosynthesis, that are driven by incoherent phenomena have anything to do with quantum mechanics, where the wave properties of matter play a key role. The answer is yes, and on page 1257 of this issue, Prokhorenko et al. show that biol. processes can be manipulated by means of coherent control. The work of Prokhorenko et al. goes beyond the specifics of biol. systems: It shows that for a quantum system in a fluctuating bath, one can manipulate the outcome of the reaction by creating constructive or destructive interferences along the reaction coordinate. Their investigation of the phase dependence of isomerization is quite revealing of the coherent nature of their control, and it is hoped that future studies will demonstrate the phase sensitivity of coherent control for mols. in liqs. as well. [on SciFinder (R)]


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